“Two weeks before a high-stakes trial pitting Google’s Motorola Mobility unit against Microsoft, Google made what has become a common request for a technology company fighting for billions of dollars: A public court proceeding, conducted largely in secret,” Dan Levine reports for Reuters.
“Google and Microsoft, like rivals embroiled in smartphone patent wars, are eager to keep sensitive business information under wraps – in this case, the royalty deals they cut with other companies on patented technology,” Levine reports. “Microsoft asked for similar protections in a court filing late on Thursday. Such royalty rates, though, are the central issue in this trial, which begins November 13 in Seattle.”
Levine reports, “Legal experts are increasingly troubled by the level of secrecy that has become commonplace in intellectual property cases where overburdened judges often pay scant attention to the issue. Widespread sealing of documents infringes on the basic American legal principle that court should be public, says law professor, Dennis Crouch, and encourages companies to use a costly, tax-payer funded resource to resolve their disputes.”
“Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp have been litigating in courts around the world against Google Inc and partners like Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, which use the Android operating system on their mobile devices,” Levine reports. “Apple contends that Android is basically a copy of its iOS smartphone software, and Microsoft holds patents that it contends cover a number of Android features.”
Levine reports, “Robart will decide how big a royalty Motorola deserves from Microsoft for a license on some Motorola wireless and video patents. Apple, for its part, is set to square off against Motorola on Monday in Madison, Wisconsin, in a case that involves many of the same issues.”
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