Google's Motorola Patent Cash Cow Fails to Deliver

By Gary Cutlack on at

A judge has finished stroking his chin and thinking about a patent case regarding Motorola's claim for royalties from Microsoft, ruling that MS should pay Motorola just £1.8m a year -- a massive discount to the $4bn Motorola originally demanded.

The case centres around certain FRAND patents, which are innovations deemed essential to how all gadgets work and therefore must be shared among hardware makers, albeit at the cost of paying a fee to use them. The patents in this particular case covered Microsoft's use of Motorola's H.264 video codec and IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi code as implemented in the Xbox series, for which Motorola wanted a huge amount of money.

But $1.8m is not a huge amount of money in today's tech world. It's likely that Google spent more than the $1.8m reward in legal costs for this particular case, meaning the enormous amount of cash it paid out for Motorola and its supposedly bulletproof patent back catalogue hasn't yet made much return for the tech giant.

Unless there's a country in the world where the XOOM 2 is currently outselling the iPad by a ratio of 250:1, Google's big buy of Motorola hasn't been much of success. [FT]