Microsoft is suing Motorola Mobility in Germany over a mapping patent that Microsoft alleges covers the Google Maps app that ships on Motorola phones. The two parties meet each other in court on Thursday, the regional court of Munich said.
According to Microsoft, some products sold by Google-owned Motorola Mobility infringe on a patent that describes a method of obtaining the map from one database, resource information such as Starbucks locations from a second database, and overlaying the two sets of data. A technique like this is used in Google Maps, which is installed on Motorola's Android devices.
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Microsoft sued Motorola Mobility and its German subsidiary. The lawsuit in the regional court of Munich will start on Thursday with two hearings, a spokeswoman for the court said in an email.
"It became necessary to add Google to this particular case because Motorola maintains that it lacks sufficient information about actions occurring on Google's servers," according to the statement.
This means that a possible verdict in favor of Microsoft could affect the entire Google Maps platform in Germany, according to patent-issues blogger and analyst Florian Mueller, who attended the hearing in Munich and reported about it on his blog. If Microsoft wins the lawsuit, the court would simply order Google not to infringe the claim, he said in an email. Mueller has been tapped as a consultant for tech companies including Oracle and Microsoft.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The mapping patent lawsuit was filed around the same time as Microsoft filed a number of other Android-related patent lawsuits against Motorola in Germany. It filed the suits because it wants Motorola to pay a licensing fee for Android. Microsoft has a licensing agreement with HTC, Samsung and most of the Android market that covers licenses to all Microsoft's Android-related patents. Motorola does not have a license and continues to infringe, according to Microsoft.
"We continue to hope Motorola will join the vast majority of Android device makers by licensing Microsoft's patented inventions," Microsoft said.
Microsoft already won three sales bans on Motorola devices in Germany for infringing a FAT file system patent, an SMS patent, and a patent describing a method for handling communication between a keyboard and an application, while a fourth was denied in Mannheim last week.