Google Says “Anti-Google” Patent Analyst Gets Microsoft Funding for Patent Study

Analyst says he agrees and disagrees with Microsoft on various things

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Google Says “Anti-Google” Patent Analyst Gets Microsoft Funding for Patent Study
[ Technology]

It’s no secret that Google and Microsoft don’t like one another. Now, Google is pointing out that a patent analyst, which Google’s Matt Cutts says “often takes anti-Google stances,” is conducting a study on FRAND-committed patents, which is being commissioned by Microsoft.

“Florian Mueller, the patent analyst (he’s not a lawyer) who often takes anti-Google stances, just revealed that Microsoft is funding Mueller to create a new study about patents,” Cutts said in a Google+ update.

Google’s Tim Bray added on Twitter:

Florian Mueller is being paid by Microsoft. Imagine my lack of surprise. http://t.co/5fFxVFCH 2 days ago via YoruFukurou · powered by @socialditto

FRAND stands for “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory. “The purpose of FRAND licensing commitments is to ensure access to intellectual property,” explains Mueller in the post in question. “It also protects third parties against overcharging and other abusive behavior.” Here is the passage in which he talks about Microsoft:

Microsoft has commissioned this study. I will present my findings next year in a published report.

The industry at large relies and depends on FRAND commitments. So does Microsoft, which owns a significant number of standards-essential patents but licenses many more of them from other right holders. Given the strength of Microsoft’s patent portfolio and the large scale of its inbound and outbound licensing activities, I am proud that they are interested in my analysis of, and perspective on, the related issues.

Microsoft and I agree on some issues and disagree on others. We were on opposing sides of the debate over a European patent bill years ago. We still have different positions on patent-eligible subject matter. But we do see eye to eye on the post-grant use of patents, i.e., how patents are and should be used after they have been issued, and on some related matters. I like the fact that Microsoft appreciates and respects a diversity of opinions, a fact that has enabled us to work together not only on this FRAND research project but also on a couple of other recent issues facing the industry.

If you recall the public war of words between Google and Microsoft, it makes sense that Google would raise a flag over a Microsoft-sponsored study regarding patents, and I’m sure they will do so again once the study actually comes out. It will be interesting to see what it actually says.

Google Says “Anti-Google” Patent Analyst Gets Microsoft Funding for Patent Study
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  • Relwal

    I think you are missing the point. It’s not about the study. The study may never actually get published.

    The point is that for the first time IP law enthusiast and blogger (note he’s not a lawyer) Florian Mueller is disclosing that he is being paid by Microsoft and that he has been paid by Microsoft in the past. He won’t, however, disclose how long he has been in Microsoft’s pay.

    So why is Mueller disclosing this now? In the past he has taken a “neither confirm nor deny” position on specifically whether he is funded by Microsoft. You are welcome to speculate on reasons for the change in his disclosure.

    The reason it is relevant is that Florian Mueller, in spite of his not being an IP lawyer, is often cited as an industry expert on IP law and there is rarely any attempts validate his statements with other opinions. With more transparent disclosure of his patronage citing journals will be more inclined to seek additional perspectives, and perhaps we will get less biased reporting.

  • http://www.PlacesToEatOkay.com Steven

    My money is on the report not being published if it doesn’t favor Microsoft.

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