Microsoft alleges Motorola's Android phones infringe its mapping patent

Microsoft is targeting Google Maps on Motorola Mobility phones because it wants the company to pay patent license fees for using Android

By Loek Essers, IDG News Service |  IT Management

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.

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.

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.

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.

One of the verdicts included a sales ban on the Motorola Atrix, the Droid Razr and the Droid Razr Maxx phones.

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