Microsoft and Google Hug It Out in Patent War

Neither company is spilling many details, but Microsoft and Google have announced that they've put an end to a long-standing patent dispute and dropped some 20 lawsuits in the U.S. and Germany. The cases all revolved around disagreements over technologies used in smartphones and in Microsoft's Xbox game system.

Google became a party to the ongoing disputes after it acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in 2012. At the time of the acquisition, Google said it was purchasing the company in part because "Motorola Mobility's patent portfolio will help protect the Android ecosystem."

"Microsoft and Google are pleased to announce an agreement on patent issues," the companies said yesterday in a joint statement. "As part of the agreement, the companies will dismiss all pending patent infringement litigation between them, including cases related to Motorola Mobility."

The statement added, "Separately, Google and Microsoft have agreed to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers." Further terms of the agreement were confidential, a Google spokesperson said.

Dueling Infringement Complaints

Microsoft filed complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission and the Western District federal court in Washington in October 2010 alleging that Motorola had infringed upon its smartphone patents. Motorola later countered those complaints with a claim on royalties for technologies used in Microsoft's Xbox. Motorola subsequently took Microsoft to court to prevent the company from using its patents.

In July, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington upheld a ruling in favor of Microsoft, finding that Motorola had failed to honor an agreement in which it had pledged to license some of the technologies used in Xbox to Microsoft. The companies were also involved in court disputes in Germany over a German patent regarding a standard for video encoding.

Targeting Patent Trolls

Microsoft's and...

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