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Microsoft wins a U.S. restraining order against Motorola's German injunction

Posted: , by Scott H.

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Microsoft wins a U.S. restraining order against Motorola's German injunction
This is something you don’t see every day; facing a possible injunction in Germany next week over FRAND-based patent infringement, Microsoft has successfully sued Motorola in the United States to prevent them from asserting the injunction (in Germany). If they win.

If your head is spinning a bit, we sympathize.

German courts are much more likely to provide injunctions than U.S. courts are for FRAND patents. Microsoft is suing Motorola in the U.S. to try and settle the exact same FRAND patent licenses, and it naturally didn't want to lose in Germany before settling the issue at home, where FRAND rules are more strictly enforced. How exactly can a U.S. court overrule a German one? It can’t of course, but a procedural anomaly in German injunctions means they don't have to. If Motorola gets a favorable ruling next week (which Microsoft must consider reasonably likely since they have taken this unusual step) it would prevent Microsoft from selling almost any of its major products in Germany (including Windows and Xbox).

The key to understanding this mess is that winning an injunction in Germany doesn’t result in the injunction being immediately applied; instead the winning company must formally request the injunction afterward, and often must post a bond and meet certain other obligations prior to the injunction being enforced. It is this follow up procedure that the U.S. court is barring Motorola from taking; the German court is free to come to whatever ruling it wants, but if Motorola asks for enforcement it will be found to be in violation of the U.S.-court-ordered restraining order.

Got that?

There are several patents in play on both sides, but the FRAND patents that Motorola is asserting involve the H.264 video codec that is used in many computing products. While the Motorola patents are not themselves specific to mobile devices, the lawsuit was made to counter Microsoft’s attempt to extract patent licensing fees from Motorola’s Android devices; given that licensing fees have threatened to undercut some of the value to OEMS of using Android, this case could have a substantial impact on mobile ecosystems going forward.

source: FOSS Patents via Engadget

30 Comments
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posted on 12 Apr 2012, 13:35 7

1. PAPINYC (limited) (Posts: 2044; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


So, basically, this is something that we would expect from Apple but it's Microsoft doing the patent trolling and not Apple.

We got that very clearly.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 13:42 4

4. eaxvac (Posts: 328; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


you are a moron, Motorola started this mess by licensing their FRAND patent for 3% of the overall cost. FRAND patent is a standard for the industry contrubited by many companies, and not just Motorola.
Motorola wants to license a few of their patent for 2.25% of the overall cost, while Microsoft is only licensing thousands of them from other companies for similar patent at just 0.01%.

That will account for almost 30 bucks for a 1000 dollar item.

As for mobile like Android that Google stole without licensing, those patents are non-FRAND, Microsoft can decide on their own price or to license it or not.

http://tinyurl.com/34k9nwc
http://tinyurl.com/265hpgn

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 14:04 8

5. Scott_H (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Oct 2011)


While I think your concern over Motorola's use of FRAND patents is worthwhile, it's nothing but hyperbole to say "As for mobile like Android that Google stole without licensing" - the problem with patents is that it isn't stealing unless the patent is valid, and the only way to assess that is usually to go to court (i.e. when the patent owner sues you).

For example, Oracle thought Google had "stolen" a lot of IP from them (or rather Sun, whom they purchased) when they launched their lawsuit last year, but almost all of those patents have now been found to be invalid. Now Oracle is claiming that Google "stole" copyrighted material, but all those patents they "stole" turned out to not be stealing by any definition.

In reality, every company refers to it as "stealing" when competitors do it, while referring to it as "vigorously defending our intellectual property" when they are doing it. Pretending that these terms mean anything is just silly - U.S. patent law is wildly out of hand, and you either suck it up and agree to pay a fee for a patent that has a high likelihood of being invalid, or you spend a ton of money to try and fight it - either way it's not "stealing" until it's established that the patents in question are valid.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 14:53 3

7. PAPINYC (limited) (Posts: 2044; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


Thank you, I was just about to make that exact point. And, very well written I might add; "kudos," to you.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 16:56 1

18. ardent1 (Posts: 1983; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


Okay papinnyc isn't the only reading-challenged individual on phonearena in this thread.

Scott, eaxvac makes a point about Moto charging excessive licensing fees at 3% or even 2.25% for FRAND patent which was the thrust of his argument. The comment about Google was used figuratively speaking AND NOT literally. Please have the intelligence to discern this based on eaxvac's entire post.

Scott, please stay on course since you didn't address the main issue except to stand on your soapbox. Yes, papinnyc did make a low-brow comment akin to those made by morons.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 17:09 3

21. Scott_H (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Oct 2011)


Excuse me ardent? I really only peruse threads to ensure nothing egregiously wrong is spread - when you start a post with "you are a moron" and conclude it with something far dumber "Google is stealing" you forfeit all right for my to ignore that for some larger point.

The rate that Motorola wants to charge IS a legitimate (albeit not cut and dried) issue - part of the problem is that regulations make a lot of general requirements about FRAND licensing but very few specifics as to what a "fair" price is. It may even be the topic of a future story - but that doesn't mean I would reward a post like eaxvac's by ignoring the personal attacks and outright falsehoods to address the one legitimate point he brought up. Instead, I acknowledged it was legitimate and then moved to the other topics.

Further more, if you bother to read even the rest of this thread, let alone most threads on stories involving patents, you'd see that this "who is stealing from whom" issue comes up a lot more frequently, and often leads to a breakdown of civil discussion. Hence, I'd rather concentrate on squishing the nonsense comments so we can continue with a real discussion of the substantive points.

That's the course I stay on, and your immediate move to include personal attacks doesn't merit a shifting of the conversation in the direction you asked for.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 17:07 3

20. roscuthiii (Posts: 1716; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


Hey Scott, how do you think the patent trolling wars will pan out now that there was a federal ruling recently that you can't steal code, from the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York regarding the Goldman Sachs v. Sergey Aleynikov case?

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 17:22 1

22. Scott_H (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Oct 2011)


Now THAT's a good question roscuthiii. I don't think it will have any impact what-so-ever; the US v Aleynikov case regards industrial theft, and was tried as a criminal case; IP infringement is NOT theft in this sense, it's the using of someone else's licensed ideas without arranging to pay for them. The use of the term "stealing" by companies is nothing more than a marketing ploy to associate a civil law infraction with a criminal one.

The patent wars will rise and fall on the validity of the patents involved (and the interpreted limits of FRAND licensing agreements) in each individual court case. FRAND-wise, there will likely be a LOT of new precedents set in the next 24 months that could have legal ramifications for decades to come.

Of course the final outcome probably won't really be that anyone will "win", it will come down to who ends up with the most leverage once a critical number of companies decide that spending billions of dollars on lawsuits is no longer in their own self-interest. Mobile technology is at a very critical stage of market development right now, and getting even a six month injunction could help swing market share. Once these markets hit a saturation point where market share is harder to change, really expensive lawsuits will no longer look like a good investment and settlements will commence en masse.

When will that be? Smartphone sales in the U.S. are already being commoditized, and the expansion of low-cost smartphones into developing nations will quickly move smartphones towards saturation. Tablets, however, have a ways to go, and if wearable computing starts to take off (Project Glass, wearable iPods, etc.) then it could be half a decade or more before we hit that point.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 17:50

24. roscuthiii (Posts: 1716; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


Thanks Scott. I suppose I should have known. It looks like those poor lawyers' livelihoods are safe for a while longer yet.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 16:57 2

19. ardent1 (Posts: 1983; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


In this article, the writer is ASSERTING Moto is doing the patent trolling. Papinnyc, you need to work on your reading comprehension skills.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 13:39 1

2. eaxvac (Posts: 328; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


Sucks for Motorola to be a US based company, now US judges are bypassing German's court.
Google will soon pay a hefty price for anti competition practices in both search and FRAND soon on European Union/ US.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 13:41 4

3. medicci37 (Posts: 552; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)


MS wants OEMS to pay for using their patents. So they should have to pay for patents they are using. The gov. needs to reform some of the patent laws, though. Because the consumers are the 1's who get screwed by having to pay more, so companies like Apple & MS can make money, of Android. Instead of producing better, more competitive products.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 14:44 1

6. theBankRobber (Posts: 642; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


So out of fear of losing, they went crying to some US judge who gave in? This is insane. Its like the judge is saying they know Microsoft did it but they will protect them. This just shows unless your name is Microsoft or Apple, you don't have a leg to stand on in court.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 14:56 1

8. medicci37 (Posts: 552; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)


@eaxvac Any moron who really understands how Android works could tell it is totally different from ios. & You have to be a real idiot, to think that Apple would not have stopped Google from using Android, If it was a stolen product. Just because Jobs said it, doesn't make it true. You fanboys might have more credibility, if you were not so Willfully blind to the truth.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 15:09 1

9. PAPINYC (limited) (Posts: 2044; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


Love that avatar, if only an Apple had a mouth!

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 15:24 1

10. theBankRobber (Posts: 642; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


If you turn the Apple sideways it would be a mouth haha

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 15:40 3

12. PAPINYC (limited) (Posts: 2044; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


OMG, you're right!!! lol

And, what a biG mouth (iGuess it's alot of practice). And, appears to be on bended knees when sidways.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 15:25 3

11. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Any moron can see android is a copycat OS riding on Apple's coat tails.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 15:54 4

13. theBankRobber (Posts: 642; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


Do we really need to go through this AGAIN??? You people always say that but FAIL on saying what was copied. Nothing from how the OS looks and acts is copied from IOS so GTFO

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 16:01 3

14. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


I've given examples lots of times.

How about app store and pinch to zoom to get started

How about androids own developer that admitted android is buggy and freezes up because it was rushed to market to copy, umm I mean compete with the iPhone.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 16:29 2

15. Sniggly (Posts: 6475; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


On that second point, when and where was that ever said?

On the first set of examples, we've covered many times why pinch to zoom (not a concept developed by Apple or included until Android 2.0) and the app store (a concept which existed long before the iPhone) are not examples of Android as an operating system being a copy of IOS. Besides those examples, what else is there? You've never gotten any farther than that, Taco.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 16:41 2

17. theBankRobber (Posts: 642; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


App store and pinch to zoom?? Is that all you got? The App store on both look nothing alike, and its a place to purchase and download media, games, and apps. There wasn't even a app store when the 1st iPhone was launched. In fact, I could download apps and games on my 2004 Palm Treo 650. Difference was the source was through Sprint and not called a App Store. So please try again.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 16:40 2

16. Whateverman (Posts: 3158; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Let's just say it WAS stolen...what's your point? Why keep trolling? Apple stole its OS from RIM, Microsoft, and Palm. Apple rode their coat tails, so what is the difference???

You complain about Android fans attacking you, but here you are posting comments about Apple in an article that has nothing to do with Apple.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 17:32 2

23. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


You guys are sad using a stolen OS and pretending it's not

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 18:19 1

25. Sniggly (Posts: 6475; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


The OS isn't stolen, at least not from iOS. iOS is basically the app list from Blackberry, Palm and Windows Mobile anyway. To say that any OS that has an app list is stolen from iOS is delusional and absurd.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 18:46 1

26. Whateverman (Posts: 3158; Member since: 17 May 2009)


What sad is an iPhone fan who can't stand that no one is talking about his favorite phone, so he throw it in the middle of the conversation as if to say, "Me too! Me too!"

Besides, your avoiding my questions sir...

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 21:44

28. TROLL.IS.AHA (banned) (Posts: 58; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)


Taco you all-way's looooose.....
get a Android or other life....
you'r doooomed by iEvil!

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 21:48

29. TROLL.IS.AHA (banned) (Posts: 58; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)


Taco you allway's loose...
don't you have no self-respect?
We bash you left. Right. Up. Down.
Centre. Get over it iLooser......

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 18:57 3

27. tedkord (Posts: 3908; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Only morons can see android is a copycat OS riding on Apple's coat tails.

There, I fixed that for you.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 23:15

30. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


I don't wanna windows product to be block. So Microsoft must win this. First Motorola sue Microsoft for Xbox wifi adapter. Now they sue Microsoft for H.264 just because that guy came to ask for licencing fees regarding Android patents. I hope that backfired on Motorola.

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