A German trial, which is seeing Google and Motorola battle Microsoft, appears to be going badly for the search giant. So badly, in fact, that a German judge has stated that he’s “inclined” to ban Google Maps in the country.
The judge believes that he ought hold Google responsible for the infringement of a European Microsoft patent describing a “computer system for identifying local resources”. While that might not sound too serious, its ramifications are. FOSS patents explains:
Judge Dr. Zigann, the judge presiding over the chamber (panel of judges) hearing this case, said that this patent, which has an August 1995 priority date, covers a “big idea” (the combination of search results with map data) that deserves a “construction commensurate with said big idea”.
Microsoft is seeking, and now very likely to obtain, a German patent injunction against the Google Maps service, the Google Maps Android client app, and web browsers providing access to Google Maps. In order to comply with the injunction that looms large, Google would have to disable access to Google Maps from computers using a German IP address, discontinue shipping the Google Maps Android app in the German market, and distribute web browsers in Germany only if they block access to Google Maps in a way comparable to Internet filters used for the purpose of parental controls.
In other words, Google Maps would die in Germany. It’s expected that a final decision will be made in the next two months, but in the meantime Google will no doubt be doing whatever it can to convince the court that the punishment needn’t be quite so serious. [FOSS Patents]