Motorola Ban Starts Today
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Starting today, some 18 Motorola devices will be banned in the US as the result of their little scrap with Microsoft in ITC courts.
The ITC ruling allowed for a 60 day presidential review, which could have reversed the decision. Those 60 days have now passed, and Motorola is left with a few options to prevent their Droid 2, Droid X, Droid X 2 and Xoom tablets from being banned in the States. Motorola doesn’t appear too worried, saying they are confident they’ll be able to put their futuristic X-heavy devices in consumers’ hands for years to come.
The patent in question is related to Microsoft’s Exchange Active Sync technology, which involves creating meetings and scheduling on a mobile device. Motorola has licensed this patent in the past, between 2003 and 2007. When the license expired in 2007, Google’s Motorola simply stopped paying for the license, giving Microsoft a bullet with which to fire when they became ready.
In a statement given to All Things D, Microsoft’s Deputy General Counsel Dave Howard has said, “Microsoft brought this case only after Motorola stopped licensing our intellectual property but continued to use our inventions in its products.”
“It’s unfortunate we’ve been forced to pursue legal action, but the solution for Motorola remains licensing our intellectual property at market rates as most other Android manufacturers have already done.”
Motorola has a couple of options if they plan to sidestep these bans. First, they could simply start paying for the licenses again. Other companies, such as Apple, Google and Nokia, are each under license contracts with Microsoft to use this patent. In fact, Microsoft receives payments from more than 70% of all Android phones sold in the States. Google’s Motorola seems to be the only company looking to use the patent without payment.
They could also remove the calendaring feature entirely, leaving many Motorola fans dependent on a third-party option for scheduling their lives.
Motorola has not yet announced how they plan to keep Droids and Xooms on shelves across America, they’ve only said they’ve got a plan.
“Motorola has taken proactive measures to ensure that our industry-leading smartphones remain available to consumers in the US,” Google’s Motorola said in a statement to All Things D. “We respect the value of intellectual property and expect other companies to do the same.”
Even Microsoft is left out in the dark as to how Motorola will “side step” an ITC ban, telling Ars Technica, “We do not have information on how they will comply.”
Microsoft isn’t the only one seeking a ban, of course. Motorola wants the ITC to place a ban on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 for violating a FRAND patent. Though they’re facing a ban on 18 of their products in the US, Motorola can freely sell their tablets in Europe after a German judge denied Apple’s request to place a ban on the Xoom. As they’ve been doing with other companies, Apple has sued Google’s Motorola for violating their design rights, saying the Xoom tablet too closely resembles the iPad.