Allegations have been cast over Google’s use of “a computer system for identifying local resources and method therefore”, which involves Microsoft’s patent, according to patent consultant Florian Mueller. Munich Regional Court judge Dr. Matthias Zigann warned Google and its European subsidiary Motorola Mobility that the court may bring charges against them for allegedly infringing EP0845124 – a patent currently owned by Microsoft.
Microsoft has the upper hand in the case since Google has failed to convince the court that its mapping software does not involve the patent in question. Should Microsoft win the lawsuit in about a couple of months’ time, Google will have no other option but to discontinue Google Maps feature from all Android phones and computers carrying a German IP address.
“In order to comply with the injunction that looms large, Google would have to disable access to Google Maps from computers using a German IP address, discontinue shipping the Google Maps Android app in the German market, and distribute web browsers in Germany only if they block access to Google Maps in a way comparable to Internet filters used for the purpose of parental controls,” Mueller said in his blog on April 11.
Google can only hope to survive in Germany if it admits to using Microsoft’s intellectual property and pays royalties to Microsoft for incorporating the latter’s patent in Google Maps. But even if it does so, the German patent case may once again mar Google’s reputation in Europe, especially after its Street View service was earlier received with negative reactions by residents in Surrey on account of breach of privacy.
While Motorola Mobility finds itself in the midst of legal hassles, HTC, Samsung and LG, among other Android service providers, have already washed their hands of Google’s licensing agreement, citing a breach of patent rights.
It is learned that Microsoft initially filed a lawsuit only against Motorola Mobility and involved Google as the defendant when Motorola officials said they had no idea how Google Maps servers function.
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