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:
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.