updated 06:40 am EDT, Wed May 2, 2012
Motorola wins patent ruling, MS unfazed
Motorola has landed a significant blow against Microsoft in Germany after persuading the Mannheim Regional Court to issue an injunction against the sale of the Xbox 360 and Windows 7. Judge Holger Kircher ruled that Microsoft had violated two Motorola patents, one pertaining to H.264 video-compression and the other related to wireless internet connection. However, the bans are subject to appeal and are not likely to be pursued by Motorola initially, the result of several complicating factors according to FOSS Patents.
To enforce the ban, Motorola would have to guarantee a bond that would cover Microsoft for any losses that it would suffer as a result of the banning of sales should the ban be overturned on appeal. The German Higher Regional court can suspend enforcement of the ban, Judge James Robart of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington has barred Motorola from proceeding with claims injunctions in other courts around the world before his court has ruled on the matter. It is also being investigated in Europe for possible FRAND abuse in relation to the suits that it has brought against both Microsoft and Apple, further complicating matters.
In response Microsoft issued a statement playing down the significance of its alleged patent infringements. ‘This is one step in a long process, and we are confident that Motorola will eventually be held to its promise to make its standard essential patents available on fair and reasonable terms for the benefit of consumers who enjoy video on the web,’ Microsoft said. ‘Motorola is prohibited from acting on today's decision, and our business in Germany will continue as usual while we appeal this decision and pursue the fundamental issue of Motorola's broken promise,’ it added.
Although Motorola is targeting Microsoft’s Xbox and Windows businesses, this case and similar suits against Apple in Germany and the US are designed to increase its leverage in the proxy war that Apple and Microsoft are engaged in on the Android mobile operating system. Google, which is in the process of purchasing Motorola, may be using Motorola as a proxy for fighting back and protecting its strategic investment in the Android platform. It was widely reported that Google purchase Motorola for its patents. However, if it is found guilty of abusing its standards-essential patents, the $12 billion Motorola acquisition may have end up having little strategic value for Google in the long run. [via Reuters]