Courtrooms in Germany are bustling with American tech right now, as a single patent has three companies – Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) battling it out. So far, one court is saying “ja,” while the other is saying “nein.” And seeing those two courts not synchronized sure seems symbolic in this case.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), the parent company of Motorola Mobility, which is the original holder of the German patent since 2002, is looking to claim patent rights in two separate cases against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) – but that patent now seems to be in danger of invalidation. The patent in question in these cases involves a push mail feature, which Apple has used in its iCloud syncing service, and Microsoft has been implementing similar technology.
Previously, a German court upheld the patent in Motorola/Google‘s favor against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), which forced Apple to disable the function to German users earlier this year. However, word is that the case against Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is not so clear cut – with particular snag reportedly being the fact that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) currently pays a licensing fee to Microsoft for use of ActiveSync.The Microsoft claim is going before Germany’s Federal Patent Court for a decision on that piece before the regional Mannheim court would rule on the validity of the patent claim by Google.
And yes, that patent is apparently under scrutiny because a U.K. court ruled last winter that the Motorola Mobility patent was invalid. Apple is currently making its own case in German Patent Court to have the patent claim invalidated, perhaps using the U.K. ruling as support.
What are your thoughts about this latest legal wrangle, involving the three biggest tech names in the U.S., resolving a dispute in Germany? Where do you think the advantage lies – with Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), which owns the patent (or at least claims is), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) or Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), which are each trying to invalidate it so they can resume their technology as planned? Give us your feedback in the comments section below.
Check out Apple’s massive patent haul on regarding its iTunes U program on the following pages:
*Patents filed by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), downloaded via PatentlyApple