April 24, 2012
Motorola Mobility And Microsoft Continue Xbox Patent Battle
Michael Harper for RedOrbit.com
Microsoft has apparently violated some of Motorola Mobility´s patent rights, according to Judge David Shaw of the US International Trade Commission (ITC). Such a ruling could better Motorola´s chances of blocking imports of the Xbox gaming console from entering the States.
Microsoft has been violating 4 of 5 Motorola Mobility patents, according to Judge Shaw. Now, it´s up to a six-member commission to review the ruling and decide if any Xbox which violates these patents should be banned.
With this victory, Motorola Mobility now has more pull in their patent fights against Microsoft, which they hope will force the two tech companies into settlement talks. Motorola Mobility filed these patent lawsuits against Microsoft in retaliation as Microsoft made patent-infringement claims against Motorola Mobility´s phones which run Google´s Android operating system.
“Microsoft continues to infringe Motorola Mobility´s patent portfolio, and we remain confident in our position,” said Becki Leonard, Motorola Mobility spokeswoman, according to Bloomberg.
“This case was filed in response to Microsoft´s litigate-first patent attack strategy, and we look forward to the full commission´s ruling in August.”
The commission plans to have their investigation complete by August 23.
In the midst of all this legal rough-housing, a second judge has ruled Motorola Mobility has infringed upon 1 of 7 of Microsoft´s patents. The commission is also investigating this ruling, and will have their decision by May 18.
Microsoft remains confident in their position, however. In an emailed statement to Bloomberg, a Microsoft spokesperson has said, “Today´s recommendation by the administrative law judge is the first step in the process leading to the commission´s final ruling.”
“We remain confident the commission will ultimately rule in Microsoft´s favor in this case and that Motorola will be held to its promise to make its standard-essential patents available on fair and reasonable terms.”
In the end, this battle may ultimately come between Google and Microsoft. Google has agreed to purchase Motorola Mobility and their portfolio of patents, more than 17,000 deep. Google will pay a reported $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility and their valuable patents.
Such is the way of giant tech businesses today. Almost every tech company is embattled with another tech company over the issue of patents, who owns the rights to these patents, and who is infringing upon whose patents.
Specifically, Motorola Mobility is claiming Microsoft is infringing upon two patents for an industry standard for video decoding, two WiFi patents, and one patent for the way the Xbox connects with accessories. According to Judge Shaw, one of the WiFi patents wasn´t infringed upon, and one of the video-coding patents wasn´t valid.
As a form of restitution for their perceived damages, Motorola Mobility sent letters to Microsoft demanding a 2.25% royalty on the end price of any products sold which use their patents, most notably the Xbox and some windows products. This could end up to be a quite a haul, as Microsoft reported $8.9 billion in global sales during their fiscal 2011: In fact, if they were to pay out these royalties, Microsoft could end up writing a $4 billion check to Motorola Mobility each year. According to Washington patent lawyer Tom Scott, “Motorola is saying, ℠If you want to go to war with me, that´s ok, but then you can´t say I should play nice in the sandbox.”
“There really isn´t a standard for fair, reasonable and non- discriminatory.”