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Google Maps faces ban in Germany over patent infringement

updated 07:35 am EST, Fri March 8, 2013

Patent involves combining map data with a database

A German court has revealed it is inclined to ban Google Maps in the country, as part of ongoing patent litigation. Judge Dr Matthias Zigann of the Munich I Regional Court told Google and Motorola Mobility that it is currently looking at holding them liable for infringing a Microsoft patent, as the patent covers a "big idea" and deserves a "construction commensurate with said big idea."

The lawsuit concerns a patent held by Microsoft over the combination of map data and location data, such as search results or restaurant recommendations on a map. Though Google argued in pre-trial discussions for the patent's reach to be narrowed down for the purposes of the court, the presiding judge denied the motion, and so far Zigann has yet to be convinced by the search giant that the patent needs to be invalidated.

Foss Patents reports that Microsoft is seeking a patent injunction against Google Maps in Germany, covering the service itself, the Android client, and web browsers capable of accessing the service. To comply, Google would have to deny access to Google Maps for German IP addresses, cease distribution of the Google Maps app in the German Google Play market, and only ship browsers like Chrome in the country if access to Maps is blocked. Google Maps would effectively cease to exist in the country.

A final decision by the court is expected within the next two months.

A previous European court case over Google Maps also found against Google. A court in France in February 2012 found that Google had abused its position by squeezing out other cartographers on price. Bottin Cartographes received $657,000 in compensation from Google, as Google Maps was offered free to consumers with advertising, while Bottin had to charge its customers for similar data.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Teq

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-05-10

    Another reason...

    ...why software patents should be banned.

  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 03-24-09

    an idea?

    I hate siding with Google but patenting a "big idea" means only one person gets credit for "thinking" about something that's anywhere close to a whole bunch of other things. I believe in truly unique things being patentable but general ideas without detailed information opens up a huge can of worms. If I read this correctly, this means any electronic mapping service is "owned" by Microsoft, the original thief that has yet to put out anything original (at least not in the last decade or so).

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