June 26, 2012
ITC Postpones Their Ruling On Motorola Vs. Microsoft
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com
It seems the lone soldier battling for common sense in justice is causing a stir in our Nation´s legal system. Judge Richard Posner– or The Judge – had some very sarcastic-yet-straightforward words for those companies who wish to sue one another into oblivion over patent infringement. On Friday, The Judge threw out the case of Apple v Google´s Motorola with prejudice, saying “It would be ridiculous to dismiss a suit for failure to prove damages and allow the plaintiff to refile the suit so that he could have a second chance to prove damages.”Motorola wanted to sue Apple over their use of an FRAND patent, a case The Judge thought was a little less than earnest. Now, his decision to throw the case out, in addition to the FTC´s calling for fewer injunctions, have caused the ITC to extend the case between Google´s Motorola and Microsoft by one week.
Motorola, as you may remember, was also suing Microsoft for their use of FRAND patents in their Xbox 360 gaming console. Judge Shaw´s initial determination in April also called out Motorola for their bogus FRAND patent suits, saying "The offers made to Microsoft show that although Motorola assured the [standard-setting organizations] and the public that it would provide reasonable and non-discriminatory licenses for the patents essential to certain standards, those communications were misleading."
So, after hearing about The Judge´s throwing out the case on Friday, Microsoft ran to the ITC to file a motion for partial termination of the investigation. After thinking about it over the weekend, they then made another motion to the ITC, requesting a judicial notice of The Judge´s decision in the Apple v Motorola case.
The ITC did not mention Microsoft´s motions in their announcement, and they will now have a decision in this matter by July 2. While Motorola won a preliminary ITC ruling in April, which found Microsoft´s Xbox infringes upon 4 patents, (3 of which are FRAND) Microsoft´s insistence to note Apple´s recent case with Google´s Motorola may turn the decision around in their favor.
In addition to The Judge´s ruling, the ITC has been feeling some pressure from the FTC to limit the amount of injunctions they hand out.
Other companies, industry groups and lawmakers are also letting their voices be heard on this matter.
The legal blog Foss Patents lists HP, Nokia, Verizon, Business Software Alliance, Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Association for Competitive Technology as industry players who have written the ITC about this case.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google´s Motorola and Microsoft´s home team government officials are going to bat for them. For instance, 10 members of the Illinois congressional delegation wrote to the ITC, saying anyone found to be infringing on US patents should have strong action taken against them. Google´s Motorola is based in Illinois. As for Redmond, Washington´s Microsoft, 8 Washington lawmakers have made a call to the ITC, saying any ruling which prevented the sale of the Xbox gaming console “could threaten high-paying American jobs.”
The Commission has said they welcome the opinions of the public, though they will only make their ruling based on their own investigations.