No Injunction in Microsoft/Motorola Patent Suit

A US District Judge in Seattle has dismissed a request by Motorola Mobility that sought to ban the sale of Microsoft’s Windows and Xbox 360 products. The dismissal is part of a broader patent battle that won’t be decided by the court until next year.

Motorola Mobility sued Microsoft in late 2010, alleging that it was using certain patent technologies in its various versions of Windows and the Xbox 360. The firm was seeking to ban the sale of these products in the United States and in Germany.

But US District Judge James Robart wrote in his November 30 order that Motorola Mobility can’t seek an injunction on alleged patent infringement because the patents in question, which are related to 802.11 wireless networking and the H.264 video standard, are of the so-called standard essential variety. Motorola has been unable to show that any future monetary damages would be inadequate should it prevail in the case, the Judge also noted.

“The Motorola asserted patents at issue in this litigation are standard essential patents of the H.264 standard and are included in Motorola’s H.264 standard essential patent portfolio,” the judge wrote in the order. “The effect of this court’s decision would also bar an injunction for the assertion of any Motorola-owned 802.11 standard essential patents against Microsoft.”

This means that Microsoft is entitled to reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) licensing terms. Microsoft, of course, says that Motorola’s licensing is anything but, and the central complaint is indeed over the licensing terms.

“Because Microsoft will pay royalties under any license agreement from the time of infringement within the statute of limitations, this license agreement will constitute Motorola’s remedy for Microsoft’s use of Motorola’s H.264 standard essential patent portfolio to include the Motorola asserted patents,” Judge Robart wrote. “At all times during this litigation, the issue was not if, but when, and under what terms, a license agreement would be established between Microsoft and Motorola.”

Judge Robart’s dismissal of the injunction request isn’t the end of this case and shouldn’t be taken as an indication of which side will prevail. And the two companies could simply reach a licensing agreement and settle the case. That could happen as soon as this month, sources claim.

To read about another Microsoft/Motorola skirmish, see "Microsoft Wins Patent Battle Against Motorola in Germany."

TAGS: Windows 8
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