Microsoft found not to have infringed on Motorola patent by ITC judge
The lone patent was all that was left from a case that started in 2010 when Motorola filed a claim against Microsoft in retaliation for the Redmond based software giant's demand for royalties from the sale of Android handsets. Not only does Microsoft have a licensing program setup for Android producers, it also won an exclusion order against Motorola for its ActiveSync program which let Motorola phones sync schedules between the handset and a PC.
Motorola's initial filing included five patents that it claimed Microsoft used illegally, including two that are widely used patents involving video decoding. One patent involved the H.264 video standard and other involved a patent on Wi-Fi connectivity. These two claims were challenged by Microsoft and regulators who said that they were standards essentially patents and should be subject to fair and reasonable licensing discussions and Motorola was accused of using these so called FRAND patents to wrangle a high royalty rate of 2.25% from Microsoft or face the possibility of a sales ban on the popular gaming console.
Judge Shaw inititially ruled that four of the five Motorola patents were infringed on by Microsoft. The ITC ruled that Shaw had to rehear the cases after an unrelated case set a precedent on which made a difference on whether the alleged infringement occurred before or after a device was imported. Motorola dropped the two FRAND patents after corporate parent Google reached a settlement with the FTC in January about how it would handle FRAND patents. Two other patents, which expire this year, were dropped by Motorola leaving the one patent that was ruled on today.
The case though, is far from over. Google can petition the commission and ask for the judge's ruling to be overruled and request a sales ban on the console.
"We are disappointed with today’s determination and look forward to the full Commission’s review."- Matt Kallman, Google spokesman
1. networkdood (Posts: 4748; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
Hey, do you smell that? It is the smell of B.S.
4. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 2434; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)
How? Didn't Motorola get shot down before for trying to sue with FRAND patents?
7. VZWuser76 (Posts: 720; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
So does that mean that Microsoft shouldn't pay to use those patents? And if they refuse, should not penalties possibly including a ban be brought to bear?
It amazes me that these so called "essential" patents get less than trivial patents like the rubber banding effect and so on. Patents like that are there for show, nothing more. But essential patents are just that, essential. They are essential for the device to function in the manner it should. Without them you have a shiny expensive paper weight.
These companies who are under FRAND are "essentially" getting the shaft. They spend time, money, and resources on technology that connects people to each other. The FRAND process should mean that they're guaranteed compensation when someone uses their IP. Yet to get their compensation they have to go through just as many hoops as for a non essential patent. But the kicker is that after all that effort, they are limited in what they can get. So, just like all these people who say that abolishing the patent system will kill innovation, why would anyone want to have their IP become a standard? If there is no guarantee that they're going to be compensated for their idea, why would you enter into this process, especially if once it's all said and done, when someone uses that idea without paying their due, you could end up with less than what someone gets for an idea that offers nothing more than aesthetics?
3. iWorld (Posts: 84; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)
Indirectly Google did sue Microsoft. but, google never sues this is what i heard about Google. Correct me if i am wrong
5. Hemlocke (unregistered)
Of course they don't, because they are a benevolent entity. "Do No Evil," remember? In the next 20-30 minutes you will get plenty of revisionist history from blind fanboys who will write such gems as "Google and Motorola operate completely independent of each other," "Apple started the smartphone patent wars," and "It's okay to use FRAND-encumbered patents against Microsoft and Apple because they are evil and greedy." I love this stuff.
8. VZWuser76 (Posts: 720; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
See my earlier post. If MS or Apple are using these essential patents and not paying for them, should they not be required to compensate the party on whom they infringed on? Does that only apply when someone infringes on their IP?
It's really not that difficult. If company A uses IP from company B in their product, they should pay company B for using it, if they don't and refuse to pay, a ban should be put in place until an agreement can be reached, otherwise what's their motivation to settle? As far as the amount asked for, it's right at the same amount Microsoft was getting from the companies they entered into a licensing agreement with. They were getting $5-$15 a phone for their infringed IP, which is right around 2.5% figuring a $500 device. If Microsoft can get it for their essential patents, shouldn't other companies get the same amount?
I've said this many times before, these governing bodies need to come up with a scale for patent value. FRAND patents get $X, hardware patents get $Y, and software patents get $Z. That would eliminate half of the court cases that are brought.
9. Hemlocke (unregistered)
Of course they should have to pay for licenses if they use the IP. That's just common sense. However, that being said, Motorola/Google and Samsung should not be able to just define new rates for FRAND to competitors, when a baseline has been established, nor should they be able to use them offensively until every effort has been made to agree to reasonable FRAND terms. The problem here is all Google and Samsung, because they are stung that two companies have caught them using unlicensed IP, so they feel they should be able to charge Apple and Microsoft more.
11. VZWuser76 (Posts: 720; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
Where has it come out what they were charging other companies? I looks when this FRAND lawsuit started and I was never able to find what they were charging others. The only numbers I have seen in that Moto wanted 2.5%, Samsung was a bit higher, Microsoft is getting around $5-$15 (which is around 1-2.5% with a $500 device), and Apple wanted an amount beyond Samsung's while offering them a fraction of that for their IP. But without knowing what they're getting from others, there's no way to know if what they're charging is fair and reasonable. So far the only one we really had a clear idea on was Microsoft, because everytime the put another oem under their umbrella we had an idea what hey were paying, if not the exact figure.
Like I said, they need a flat rate scale for patents, no more of this d**kering BS. You can adjust for inflation or the governing body can change it with input from patent holders, but the rates would be universal and apply to everyone the same. And as a last resort if they don't comply, a product ban is levied until they do. Simple.
6. Timmehor (Posts: 598; Member since: 09 Mar 2013)
Google buys Motorola for patents, uses patents to sue everyone indirectly, profit???
10. papss (Posts: 2166; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
Just goes to show that all companies are sue happy and that includes your presious giggle I mean google