Google has lodged a complaint with the European Commission over Microsoft and Nokia’s patent activities.
In a statement sent to El Reg, a SpokesGoogler said “We haven't shared the complaint with anyone -- it's not customary to make these docs public,” but offered the official line that:
“Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that side-step promises both companies have made. They should be held accountable, and we hope our complaint spurs others to look into these practices.”
Google’s central complaint seems to be that the Microsoft/Nokia deal has seen the pair ramp up IP activity in ways that make it more likely Android will be the subject of patent trolling, and that the Chocolate Factory and its handset-making buddies will therefore have to cough up licence fees. Google’s position is that paying for IP in this way stifles innovation in
mean and nasty unreasonable ways.
The SpokesGoogler said the company’s complaint to the EU includes one Nokia statements in which the floundering Finns told the world they’re not interested in enforcing IP rights against the Linux Kernel. One link has the appearance of a smoking gun, as it contains the following:
“Nokia hereby commits not to assert any of its Patents (as defined herein below) against any Linux Kernel (as defined herein below) existing as of 25 May 2005.”
Nokia may be able to argue that it has kept to its word, as much of the current patent-related activity is not conducted by the Finns but by MOSAID, a Canadian company which in 2011 acquired 2011 Nokia patents and later boasted that portfolio would be worth more to it than any of the other patents it has owned in its 36-year history.
MOSAID has said plenty about the wireless patents in its portfolio, but little on the topic of Linux. It does, however, have form taking in Linux companies: in August 2011 it commenced litigation against Red Hat.
The other documents Google feels are relevant to its complaint include:
- A Nokia SEC filing, white paper (PDF)on software strategy and FTC submission (PDF);
- Nokia CEO comments about IP (video) and remarks from its CFO about patents as a source of revenue;
- Barnes and Noble’s concerns (PDF)about the Nokia/Microsoft deal.
News of the complaint filtered out late on Thursday afternoon, US time, when the EU Commission had almost certainly closed for the day. The EU competition website therefore contained no documents on the complaint at the time of writing. ®