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

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

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30 Comments

1. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 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.

4. eaxvac

Posts: 328; Member since: Jan 15, 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/34k9nwchttp://tinyurl.com/265hpgn

5. Scott_H

Posts: 167; Member since: Oct 28, 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.

7. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

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

18. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

21. Scott_H

Posts: 167; Member since: Oct 28, 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.

20. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 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?

22. Scott_H

Posts: 167; Member since: Oct 28, 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.

24. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

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

19. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

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

2. eaxvac

Posts: 328; Member since: Jan 15, 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.

3. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 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.

6. theBankRobber

Posts: 682; Member since: Sep 22, 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.

8. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 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.

9. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

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

10. theBankRobber

Posts: 682; Member since: Sep 22, 2011

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

12. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 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.

11. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

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

13. theBankRobber

Posts: 682; Member since: Sep 22, 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

14. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 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.

15. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 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.

17. theBankRobber

Posts: 682; Member since: Sep 22, 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.

16. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 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.

23. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

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

25. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 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.

26. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 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...

28. TROLL.IS.AHA

Posts: 58; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

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

29. TROLL.IS.AHA

Posts: 58; Member since: Apr 10, 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......

27. tedkord

Posts: 17051; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Only morons can see android is a copycat OS riding on Apple's coat tails. There, I fixed that for you.

30. Bluesky02

Posts: 1439; Member since: Dec 05, 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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