updated 08:37 pm EDT, Tue July 10, 2012
Still-contentious trial scheduled for November
Microsoft and Google-owned Motorola Mobility have jointly filed to stay their pending lawsuits over patent licensing until a separate hearing over "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) licensing obligations dispute is resolved. The stay will remain in place until a decision is reached on the FRAND licensing issues, due to go to trial in November, and after any appeals are exhausted. The two International Trade Commission complaints underway involving Microsoft's Activesync patent and Motorola's H.264 playback patents are unaffected by the joint stay agreement.
has nothing to do with the relevancy or strength of the various suits and counter-suits between Motorola and Microsoft. The two parties remain distant on the salient points of the three cases, but agree that a core of the case -- FRAND licensing -- needs to be addressed before any other issues can be dealt with.
Motorola is accused of not acting in good faith and demanding too much from Microsoft in FRAND negotiations over H.264 patents. Motorola's proposal suggested that Microsoft be paid $5 million annually for its share of MS patents used in Motorola devices, but Motorola would get $120 million per year for use of Motorola's H.264 video playback patents in Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Windows operating system.
When the Justice Department approved the Google acquisition of Motorola Mobility, and the Nortel Network patents by a group spearheaded by Apple and Microsoft, it said it would monitor for patent misuse by any of the companies. Apple and Microsoft pledged that they wouldn't prevent any FRAND licensing of standards-essential patents. Google promised the same, as long as good-faith negotiations for the patents were underway, but maintained the right to seek court relief if no agreement could be reached on licensing.
12-07-10 Microsoft-Motorola Joint Motion to Stay