updated 07:55 pm EST, Fri March 2, 2012
ITC may lighten or reverse Motorola loss
Microsoft faced a major setback in attempts to pressure Android supporters after the International Trade Commission agreed to review a decision that Motorola violated a Microsoft patent. The choice will see the ITC question some of Microsoft's claims and possibly reverse them. Its challenge won't necessarily reverse the ultimate verdict, but could significantly soften the impact.
An administrative law judge should deliver the final decision in spring.
Microsoft brought a dispute to the ITC in 2010 claiming that Motorola's Android devices, now covering mostly discontinued phones from the era like the Backflip and Droid X, were violating its patents for contacts, memory, sync, and others. All but one of the patents were tossed from the challenge in the intervening two years.
The ITC fight when it began was part of the early stages of a campaign Microsoft was using to inflate the cost of using Android through royalties and threatened lawsuits. Microsoft's ITC disputes and lawsuits have focused only on companies that either can't or won't use Windows Phone, as it has usually softened its tone and offered royalty discounts to firms like HTC that offer at least some support. Motorola was committed exclusively to Android even before the Google takeover offer and now won't have the option to switch.