Microsoft sues U.S. Customs over failure to enforce Motorola phone ban

Microsoft sues U.S. Customs over failure to enforce Motorola phone ban
Back in May 2012, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued an import ban on Motorola devices due to an infringement on a patent that Microsoft holds related to how a device synchronizes its calendar events with other computers.

Microsoft is suing the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, alleging that the agency had secret meetings with Google and proceeded to allow Motorola devices continue to enter the country even though nothing has been done to address the patent violation at the center of the ITC ruling.

Deputy General Counsel for Microsoft, David Howard said, “Customs has a clear responsibility to carry out ITC decisions, which are reached after a full trial and rigorous legal review. Here Customs repeatedly ignored its obligation and did so based on secret discussions.”

Google has responded with its own counter argument that U.S. Customs rejected Microsoft’s attempts to broaden the scope of its patent claims. Microsoft named DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano in its complaint as well. The Department of Homeland Security is the agency that oversees Customs. Secretary Napolitano announced that she is resigning her post to take a job with the University of California. The ITC order is in effect until August 2018 and is under appeal. Those arguments will be heard this summer.

What is interesting about this is that it appears Customs made its own decisions about a ruling from another regulatory body, and this past June, Customs announced its decision to continue allowing Motorola devices to enter the country. What is also interesting is that it looks like a number of Motorola devices will start being made in Texas in the near future. Any lawyers in the house want to talk about how imports will suddenly not be an issue any more?

Microsoft is seeking a court ruling to compel Customs to adhere to the ITC’s order. Of course, if the ITC’s ruling did not cover the scope of Motorola devices that were not imported, this issue may be short-lived, or we will see a whole new litigation drama begin to unfold.

source: Bloomberg

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23 Comments

1. drum009

Posts: 33; Member since: Jan 23, 2012

hahaha! there wasn't a "secret meeting" because obviously the whole world know about it now!!! Besides, Customs and Border Patrol Agents do whatever they want.... Even local police and sheriffs let them speed 90+mph when off duty and in their personal cars. I know this as a personal fact. I live in a city where any direction you drive more into the USA you pass a Check Point. Seeing CB Agents on a daily basis is a common and familiar occurrence as seeing local PD.

2. MartianMe unregistered

Wow!!..I can see it now ....future wars are going to be about cellphones ..this kind of sh1t only happens in the mobile industry created by apple...

3. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

I don't get it. Were ALL Motorola phones supposed to be banned?

9. Mxyzptlk unregistered

What's not to get?

23. ojdidit84

Posts: 462; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

If you'd stop trolling (every Apple, MS, Nokia vs "insert android OEM here"), you'd realize that he means whether just certain Moto handsets were banned, or whether ALL Moto handsets were banned. That's what not to get...

16. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

If you are MS, you are wanting all Moto devices to be banned. I suspect the meetings between Moto and Customs showed Customs how the phones being imported did not have the infringing hardware/software, and so Customs let the devices in.

4. Dorothy69

Posts: 498; Member since: May 21, 2013

Microsoft = The New Apple (wanna' be) Hello, U.S. Border Protection Agency can't even keep out people sneaking in from Mejico (waaaaaaaaaaaay) and coming into the U.S. to take advantage of the U.S. Government's freebies: 1. Free Public Welfare 2. Free Public Housing 3. Free Health Care (undocumented people only) 4. Free Section 8 5. Free W.I.C. 6. Free Education So, how the heck are they going to keep out Motorola phones??????!!!!

5. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

M$ just as bad as Apple. I'll be very puss if they try too ban our X PHONE.

19. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

I'll be very piss off.

6. taikucing unregistered

stupid MS

7. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

The Silver lining in this whole thing is that it only covers IMPORTED devices. So if thismeans more jobs for the middle class... Thank you M$.

11. zennacko unregistered

Imported devices only... as if anything is really manufactured in the US...

13. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Very true. The only things made here nowadays are fast food and diabetes unfortunately. But one company will have to come back, part of it at least. Lol!

8. Mxyzptlk unregistered

If it violates the copyright, it should be banned.

10. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

LOL!!!

17. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

So if Motorola violates copyright, it should be banned. Apple gets found violating patents (iphone4 & ipad2) but that's okay because there's no way Apple could have done such a thing. All of these companies have there problems, even Apple. If you could admit that it might make you appear more credible.

21. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

But if it's a patent Motorola needs to work, isn't it automatically FRAND? And thus, shouldn't Microsoft let Motorola use its patents for absolutely nothing?

12. kushki

Posts: 49; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

Evil Google!!!

20. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Evil M$

14. felisberto

Posts: 34; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

the lawsuit like Apple own rounded corners against samsung.

15. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Why does it seem that the tech companies in America are always at each other's throats? Yeah, I'm sure Samsung and HTC may have a lawsuit or two against each other... But here in the US, these companies are always trying to ban products. Microsoft wants Moto devices banned, Apple wants ANYTHING Google banned, can't think of an occasion where Google has Gone after any company, but I'm sure they have done it as well. Point is, every tech company here wants to have a monopoly, but none are willing to earn it by making a truely superior product to their competitors. Concentrate on making good products and while your competitor is trying to copy your old stuff, consumers will be upgrading to the new.

18. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

+100 It just seems the whole concept of "compete on the sales floor" is gone. They can't even market there own stuff without taking shots at their competition. What all these companies should be doing is showing you what their product can do, and leaving the comparisons to reviewers & consumers. Also while I'm not saying that they shouldn't protect their IP, the things these guys are suing over is getting ridiculous. I'm waiting for the courts to say enough because the mobile industry seems to think the court system is their personal mediator. There are plenty of others who need to use the court system as well, and some of their suits are probably more deserving of the court's time than these tech companies getting into a pissing match.

22. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Good luck on your endeavor MS. The next Moto phone is made in the US and you can't do jack s**t about banning that through the ITC.

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