There was always clouds of doubts around Microsoft’s claims that Android and Linux infringes upon their patents. While Microsoft continued to threaten companies into signing deals with them or face legal actions, it never disclosed what patents were at stake. The victims were forced to sign an NDA so that the world never gets to know which patents Microsoft is talking about — the chances are these are non-existent claims and Microsoft doesn’t want this bluff to be caught.
Barnes & Noble caught this FUD and counter sued Microsoft. Microsoft was sweating in its pants as the case headed towards the trial and Microsoft started to withdraw their bogus patents from the case. Just before the battle reach the trial Microsoft, typical to its character, paid B&N heavily, settled outside the court, and the world never got to see the bogus patents.
Microsoft is again at the verge of being exposed.
The court battle between Apple and Samsung has created the possibility of disclosing the cross patent agreement between Microsoft and Samsung, as reported by one of the most reputed source on legal matters, Groklaw.
Microsoft is suddenly scared and has filed a motion asking the court to seal the cross license agreement. I would like to remind that the Judge has asked both parties to makee all the filings in this dispute available to the public for free.
However to be fair to Microsoft, they are not alone. Other companies including Motorola, RIM, Qualcomm have also requested to keep their trade secrets sealed.
Why does Samsung need to disclose this? PJ explains, “One of Samsung’s defenses to Apple’s contention that it is asking too much for its standards patents is that others have paid them for their FRAND patents the same royalty it asked Apple for, so I suspect that is the context.”
Samsung notified other parties who signed patent deals with the company that they want to disclose these deals to show how much Samsung charges for its FRAND patents so as to prove Apple’s demands were unacceptable by industry standards. Upon this notification above mentioned companies filed the motion to keep their trade secrets.
So this is not about only Microsoft filing such a motion. It’s about the possibility to find how substantial are Microsoft’s claims that Android and Linux infringes upon their patents. This is important because Microsoft has been threatening companies over this undisclosed patents.
PJ goes on to say, “I seriously want to see those license terms, and I’d go so far as to suggest that the public has a right to know what those terms are, particularly future victims of Microsoft’s patent strategy, and I know you want to know this too, because we’ve all heard the rumors that Microsoft licenses on very, very low royalties, just to be able to say to the world that Android/Linux folks are paying Microsoft for its patents. I’d love to know if that is true. Plus, if Microsoft paid for Samsung’s FRAND patents the fee Samsung is asking Apple for, on what basis would Microsoft argue in its litigation against Motorola, that FRAND patents should be paid for at a greatly reduced royalty?”
Do you think the infamous patent agreement deal between Microsoft and Samsung should be made public?