In April of this year, Microsoft filed a patent infringement suit against Motorola Mobility in Germany. According to a recent blog post by Florian Mueller, the complaint is the latest in a line of actions brought by Microsoft (as well as Apple) against several Android-based devices and services. This one involves an attack on the basis of Google Maps – a step closer to a frontal assault on Google itself. Indeed, the significant piece of news reported by Mueller, who was present in the German courtroom for the first hearing in the case, was an announcement by counsel that Microsoft intends to add Google, Inc to the complaint. Motorola Mobility is, of course, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google. Microsoft will add Google in an effort to directly examine Google, Inc witnesses as to their knowledge of the alleged infringement, there being no other third-party discovery avenues under German rules, as contrasted with U.S. civil litigation rules.
It is a strong push, given that, according to Mueller, previous patent infringement claims by Microsoft and Apple have already succeeded in rulings to pull all Android devices from the German market. The offensive moves appear to be as much about intellectual property monetization through licensing as they are about competitive sensitivities.