Microsoft found not to have infringed on Motorola patent by ITC judge

Microsoft found not to have infringed on Motorola patent by ITC judge
ITC Judge David Shaw found on Friday that Microsoft's Xbox did not infringe on a Motorola patent by using technology that allowed the game console to communicate with accessories. The decision now goes up for review by the entire 6 member commission which does have the ability to issue a sales ban on a product it finds to have infringed on a patent.

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.

source: Bloomberg
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