Microsoft files patent lawsuit against Motorola’s use of Android code

Looks like Microsoft is trying to clear the path for their upcoming Windows 7 Phone as they are going after Motorola’s DROID series of phones which, of course, run Google’s Android mobile operating system.  Some of the details in the lawsuit regard Motorola’s code implementation of synchronizing email, contacts, and calendars, including the way meetings are scheduled.  It also covers the way battery level and signal strength notify applications.

In Microsoft’s defense, Motorola did license some of their mobile technology from 2003 to 2007 and supposedly failed to renew the license, yet continued to use it.  Still, it is unfortunate that the big boys can’t share the space in the handset market.  Microsoft has already called out Android as not really being “free”, stating that there is a lot of toe-stepping on patent infringement with the open source operating system.

Such accusations hold merit as there is already a case of Apple vs. HTC regarding the “slide to unlock” feature.  It looks like future Android manufacturers will need to tread more carefully as the smartphone market gets more crowded.

See the full list of patents and read the full press release after the jump:

Press Release:

REDMOND, Wash. – Oct. 1, 2010 – Microsoft Corp. today filed a patent infringement action against Motorola, Inc. and issued the following statement from Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing:

“Microsoft filed an action today in the International Trade Commission and in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against Motorola, Inc. for infringement of nine Microsoft patents by Motorola’s Android-based smartphones. The patents at issue relate to a range of functionality embodied in Motorola’s Android smartphone devices that are essential to the smartphone user experience, including synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power.

We have a responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to safeguard the billions of dollars we invest each year in bringing innovative software products and services to market. Motorola needs to stop its infringement of our patented inventions in its Android smartphones.”


Patent List:

  • 5,579,517: Common name space for long and short filenames
  • 5,758,352: Common name space for long and short filenames (yes, again)
  • 6,621,746: Monitoring entropic conditions of a flash memory device as an indicator for invoking erasure operations
  • 6,826,762: Radio interface layer in a cell phone with a set of APIs having a hardware-independent proxy layer and a hardware-specific driver layer
  • 6,909,910: Method and system for managing changes to a contact database
  • 7,644,376: Flexible architecture for notifying applications of state changes
  • 5,664,133: Context sensitive menu system/menu behavior
  • 6,578,054: Method and system for supporting off-line mode of operation and synchronization using resource state information
  • 6,370,566: Generating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device

» See more articles by Steve Ginter


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  • Tony Hedges

    Why do these companies ever bother with litigation? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work. Granting patents on such oddities as “slide to unlock” is particularly barmy IMHO. Companies that take legal action against others in this manner are doing it as much for publicity as anything else, because the cases rarely get to court, if they do they take years to sort out and when they are sorted out the technology has moved on and people have forgotten what the problem was in the first place! Stuff of nonsence and below contempt – publicity stunt badly thought up – both by Apple for taking on HTC and Microsoft in the action mentioned above.

  • curse

    Software patents should not exist in the first place.
    Sure.. if a function significant enhance a product, I can understand it. But Microsoft got patent on how a unpacking/installing indicator looks(when a bar gradually grows from left to right), or how about Microsoft’s patent on the “su” command “writing a command to get administrative rights”.
    Microsoft ain’t alone, Google, apple, IBM and all other big companies got their (un)fair share of patents that never should have been granted.

  • Jav27

    Meh… after the recent events with this brand (blocking ROMS, neglecting updates and adding firmware checks) I’m not worried for them. “This is a bussiness”, is what they said.