[Updated below with Motorola statement]
Microsoft’s top lawyer this morning called on Google to “engage in serious discussions” toward a wide-ranging patent licensing deal that would end the thicket of litigation between the Redmond company and Google’s Motorola mobile phone unit.
The blog post by Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith is the latest twist in an ongoing struggle between the two companies over patents. Motorola accuses Microsoft’s Xbox and Windows of violating its patents. Microsoft says Motorola is seeking unreasonable royalties for the use of its standard essential technologies, and Microsoft has separately won a court order excluding the import of Motorola phones found to violate Microsoft’s patents.
One big sticking point between the companies is Microsoft’s claim that Google’s Android operating system violates its patents. In seeking a comprehensive patent deal with the search giant, the Redmond company may be trying to force Google’s hand on that larger issue.
In his post this morning, Smith dismisses Motorola’s proposal for a selective patent licensing deal for Microsoft’s ActiveSync technology. “This is not a recipe for patent peace, but only for selectively disarming an opponent,” he writes.
His post concludes, “This particular litigation now stands at a crossroads. With its phones and tablets now subject to injunctions in the U.S. and Germany, Google can no longer doubt the relevance of Microsoft’s patent portfolio to Motorola’s products. Google can take one of two paths: it can choose either to engage in serious discussions to search for patent peace or persevere in its diversionary tactics. We hope it will choose the first course, and we stand ready to engage in good faith if it does.”
We’ve asked Google if it wants to respond to the Microsoft post. Stay tuned.
Update: Here is Motorola’s response …
“Microsoft wants to undercut Motorola’s industry-leading patent portfolio, licensed by more than 50 other companies on fair and reasonable terms, while seeking inflated royalties tied to standards that Microsoft alone controls. Motorola is always open to negotiations that avoid wasteful and abusive patent claims.”