Microsoft sues Windows Phone 7 holdout Motorola for patent infringement

Microsoft is coincidentally pushing protection against patent infringement claims as a benefit to licensing its mobile platform

Microsoft today filed a lawsuit again Motorola, alleging the company's Android smartphones infringe on several of the Redmond-based company's patents. By a remarkable coincidence, Motorola is the only major phone vendor to say it has no plans to build any Windows Phone 7 devices, instead favoring to stick with Android.

Microsoft, notably, is the only platform vendor that will be licensing its mobile platform to hardware vendors. Android and Symbian are open source and available for free usage; Apple, HP, and RIM don't license their respective platforms at all to third parties.

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Whereas phone makers including LG, HTC, and Samsung have all signed on to pay the necessary fees to build Windows Phone 7 devices, Motorola has opted out, instead sticking with Android. "Microsoft has a value-based model. Their perception is that they create value in the OS and people will pay. That's a fine point," Sandeep Sinha, a director at Motorola, reportedly said the TechNW conference in Seattle on Monday. "Right now, I don't know the value between Windows Phone 7 and Android."

If you ask Microsoft, however, there are plenty of benefits to licensing its software, including the fact that "Microsoft indemnifies its Windows Phone 7 licensees against patent infringement claims," according to the company. "We stand behind our product, and step up to our responsibility to clear the necessary IP rights."

As if to demonstrate just what kind of patent infringement claims a license might protect vendors from, Microsoft today filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Motorola, alleging the company's Android-based smartphones infringe on several Microsoft patents. "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," according to a statement from Microsoft.

This article, "Microsoft sues Windows Phone 7 holdout Motorola for patent infringement," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.

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