Germany seems to be a very active country in the past few months when it comes to patent disputes. Microsoft and Google are the latest companies to battle it out in the German courts, and if Microsoft wins their case, Germans could see their access to Google Maps cut off.
Back in 1996, Microsoft was issued their European patent for a “computer system for identifying local resources and method therefor”, which evidently translates to mapping services. The case was brought up in a Munich court yesterday and according to insiders, Google had a difficult time making their case.
A decision is expected to be made within two months and if Google is found to be violating Microsoft’s patent, the company’s popular mapping service could be forced to shut down in Germany. With more than 4 million active Google Maps users in the country, cutting them off could do some serious harm to Google’s image and create a major inconvenience to German citizens. That is of course would be the most extreme consequence for the search giant, but a Microsoft spokesperson told Germany’s press agency, the DPA, that they would be willing to offer Google a license to use their patent instead of forcing a complete shutdown.