Microsoft and Nokia have hit back at Google over claims they employ a 'troll' company to enforce patents and push up prices for consumers, the Guardian reports.
On Thursday night Google filed a regulatory complaint with the European Commission, the US Department of Justice and US Federal Commission. The complaint claims Nokia and Microsoft "are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that sidestep promises both companies have made. They should be held accountable, and we hope our complaint spurs others to look into these practices."
An Ottawa-based company called Mosaid seems to be the main cause of concern. Mosaid took control of 2,000 Nokia patents last September, and Microsoft has also handed it a number of its own. Google is concerned Mosaid will sue companies making Android phones for infringing patents.
And we thought these patent cases were on the way out.
Microsoft described Google's claim as a "desperate tactic". Nokia, meanwhile, denied it was working with Microsoft to protect patents. In a statement it accused Google of wasting the European Commission's time and resources "on such a frivolous complaint".
It went on: "We agree with Google that Android devices have significant IP infringement issues, and would welcome constructive efforts to stop unauthorised use of Nokia intellectual property." Ouch.
The Finnish phone company also encouraged mobile-makers to sign up to its licensing programme.
Firms pay 'patent trolls' to protect their intellectual property, with the troll company pocketing a slice of the earnings. Mosaid is thought to earn a third of the royalties and hand the rest over to the companies paying them, in this case Nokia and Microsoft. It estimated the royalties could earn it more than $1bn in the next decade.
Nokia is currently suing ViewSonic, claiming it hasn't licensed Nokia's patents essential for selling a tablet in Europe.
Looks like things could be about to get nasty. Let me know what you make of it in the comments, or on our Facebook page.