Microsoft Google Motorola Patent Trial Could Reveal Financial Details

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined
as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Judge rules that certain financial details must be made public if necessary

Microsoft and Google-owned Motorola Mobility are set to go to trial in Seattle today to decide a case that could not only device how much Motorola is paid for its patents, but also reveal financial information that Microsoft and Google would rather keep secret.

Motorola Mobility is seeking $4 billion a year to cover the use of its wireless and video patents in Microsoft products, while Microsoft claims that it should only pay closer to $1 million.

Microsoft has previously snubbed attempts by Motorola Mobility to end hostilities concerning certain patents pertaining to Android smartphones

Microsoft Google Motorola patent row

Both companies have asked US District Judge James Robart to keep certain financial details secret, such as licensing deals and sales revenue projections, in the run up to the trial, but it is possible that these will be revealed during court proceedings.

Google has requested that the courtroom be cleared when witnesses discuss this sensitive information, but Robart has rejected this request. He said that the public will not be able to view documents describing the patent deals, but witness testimony would be held in open court. In addition, any documents that the judge relies on for his final opinion will also be disclosed.

Robart’s decision could have a significant impact on the ongoing smartphone patent wars, as if he decides that Google only deserves a small royalty, then it would put Motorola at a disadvantage when negotiating with others.

Google bought Motorola Mobility earlier this year for $12.5 billion deal, partly to gain access to the manufacturer’s catalogue of communications patents. The Android developer is currently engaged in patent litigation with Apple, whose claim that Motorola was seeking excessive royalty payments was thrown out last week.

Both Apple and Microsoft have filed complaints with the European Commission against Motorola Mobility accusing it of using its FRAND patents to block sales.

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