An ongoing patent case in Germany between Google/Motorola and Microsoft has taken a dramatic turn now that the judge has said he's considering finding Google in violation of a European patent owned by Microsoft for a "computer system for identifying local resources and method therefore." The patent is about combining search results with map data, and was filed back in August 1995, and Microsoft is said to be pressing for an injunction that bans local use of Maps.
The consequences are large: Google would likely have to disable local IP addresses from accessing Maps via the web or its Android and iOS clients, and remove Maps from local app stores. Google's complained already that if the injunction is enacted, then Germany Netizens may switch to competing services and never return to Google even if its systems are permitted locally in the future.
This stance is somewhat of a contrast to the spat between Google and Apple over Maps in Apple's iOS App Store, where Google was withholding key Maps features and then Apple launched its own, flawed, attempt at a navigation and mapping app. Emphasizing how hot a property the maps market is, Nokia just rebranded its entire navigation services under the "Here" banner for mapping.
[Image: Flickr user heiwa4126]