News from the tech sector of Smartphone rivals suing one another for infringements of copyright and other such matters is becoming par for the course. The latest entry into the storm comes from Google Inc’s Motorola Mobility unit, and if it is honoring various promises it has given involving licensing tech for fair on ‘fair use’ terms.
Microsoft and Apple are being sought to provide information as the Federal Trade Commission (the FDC) has already issued a ‘civil investigative demand’ – which for all intents and purposes is similar to a subpoena (wiki link for the curious). The purpose of the investigation is to determine Google’s intent and if it has plans to provide licenses for certain technology the industry considers a standard, such as 3G wireless, video streaming and of course WI-FI, and fair and reasonable terms.
No doubt much to Google’s dismay, that’s not the singular focus of the FTC probe however, Google’s decision to continue litigation (another wiki link for those unfamiliar with the procedure) by Motorola Mobility over industry-standard patents, before they were purchased by the search giant and media giant. The worry and scary part of these particular lawsuits, is that products such as Apple’s Ipad and Iphone, and even Microsoft’s Xbox 360 could be blocked from being imported!
Just like in every field, there are certain industry standards that helps ensure that the manufacturers products play nicely together. An example of this would be that your smartphone is able to make a video call to your friends, regardless on both of your chosen networks and choice of phones. For example, if my Samsung Galaxy phone cannot make a video call to your Windows phone, or our mutual friend Tommy’s Iphone, there would be a problem.
Industry standards are of course nothing new, and in tech terms are very much the normal, also helping people be familiar with a large range of products and get up and running on unfamiliar tech. Therefore, when a piece of technology becomes an industry-standard (as in the case of say 3G) that company inherits an obligation to take part in a pledge to license those inventions on reasonable terms.
The Yankee Group project the ever expanding Mobile-Device market to reach a staggering $360 billion as growth of the market increases this year. “An injunction against the use of a patent can destroy a company’s entire marketing strategy,” says Bert Foer.
Blocked imports, how?
If the ITC were to side with Motorola Mobility, the agency does in-fact possess the necessary power to stop the import of products from Asia entering the United States of America, by ordering U.S. Customs and Borders Protection to halt any shipments.
July 2nd for Microsoft will be judgement day, as the ITC will announce if it will review a trade judge’s findings: that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 infringes four of the possible five Motorola patents!
For more information, I’d highly recommend checking out this Bloomberg article and keeping your eyes peeled as the second of July rolls around…