updated 07:25 pm EDT, Wed April 11, 2012
Microsoft gets reprieve from Motorola ban in US
Microsoft scored an important win in a Seattle courtroom by successfully getting a temporary block on any Motorola bans of its products. The temporary restraining order prevents Motorola from securing a ban on Windows or the Xbox 360 until the court believes it has made a sincere effort to license its H.264 video patents under FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms. Microsoft's maneuver both stops anything in the immediate trial and in other lawsuits or trade disputes.
The Windows developer has been increasingly vocal in calling Motorola's patent claims unfair. It has argued that Motorola's demand for a 2.25 percent cut on the total device price, such as for a PC, could see Microsoft pay over 100 times more for a license to use Motorola's H.264 patents than it does for numerous other companies combined. Motorola has been demanding the same rate from virtually anyone not already paying it a royalty, including Apple.
Microsoft still faces an important decision in a parallel case in Germany next week and has its own countersuits focused primarily on Android. Unlike Motorola, however, Microsoft has publicly sworn off suing over patents that might be subject to FRAND terms. Although Microsoft's own tactics against Android have been criticized for allegedly using questionable patents to 'punish' companies that don't adopt Windows Phone, its claims have been focused on unique patents more likely to hold up in court.
A more final decision on Motorola's licensing is expected before a formal trial start in November.