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Motorola Scores a Hit Against Microsoft

 

In case you’ve missed it, corporate powerhouses Microsoft and Motorola have been battling it out in the courtroom since  April.

The trouble started when Motorola took Microsoft to task by accusing them of infringing on five of its key patents, including their video coding and wi-fi technology.

All Motorola claims to be looking for is “fair compensation,” stating that Microsoft should have licensed the patents before using them in their hardware and software designs.

Microsoft then fired back, claiming that Motorola’s royalties were “excessive and discriminatory”, adding that Motorola broke several key promises outlined in their patenting promise and breached contracts regarding their wi-fi and video coding patents.

In the midst of this argument, a German court ruled in Motorola’s favor, agreeing that Microsoft infringed on four of the five patents and granting them an injunction that essentially places a ban on the sale of key Microsoft products in Germany, including Windows 7, Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer, and the Xbox 360.

Microsoft moved its European software distribution center to the Netherlands ahead of the ruling in an attempt to cut down the risk of disruption in their production and shipment schedule. A full commission will meet and review the case to come to a concrete decision in Europe in August.

In the meantime, a judge’s decision here in the U.S. will decide whether or not Motorola can effectively enforce the ban and even put a stop to imports of the Xbox 360 to the U.S.

James Robart, the Seattle-based judge in charge of the case, has cited that he needs more time to consider both sides of the case before coming to a decision. It is likely that he will deny Motorola’s attempt to get Microsoft to give up its licensing rights, and will deny Microsoft’s own action against Motorola regarding the “excessive and discriminatory” royalties.

In case your eyes have already glazed over already, it boils down to this; Motorola is holding off on the party balloons and cake, because they can’t enforce the German ban until Judge Robart rules in their favor and lifts a restraining order that will give them the a-ok. Microsoft is angry and claiming that Motorola is charging an unreasonable amount in royalties for their patents, saying that they’ve also breached contract promises.

We probably won’t hear a verdict on this case for some time while the court tries to figure out how to sort this “Nuh uh, he started it” argument between the two powerhouses.

This case described in two words: HOT MESS. It’s an exhausting tug-of-war fiasco between the two companies that even the honorable Judge Robart showed his distaste for when he said “The court is well aware it is being used as a pawn in a global, industry-wide business negotiation,” adding that the entire dispute “has been driven by an attempt to secure commercial advantage.”

He continued his lone words of wisdom by saying that “To an outsider looking at it, it has been arbitrary, it has been arrogant, and frankly, it has been based on hubris.”

Well said, Judge. Well said.



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