Microsoft wins one, loses six in initial ITC ruling on patent suit against Motorola

Microsoft wins one, loses six in initial ITC ruling on patent suit against Motorola
An ITC judge has made an initial ruling on 7 patents that Microsoft claims were illegally used by Motorola Mobility. The judge said that Motorola devices infringe on one of Microsoft's patents, essentially invalidating the claim for the other six. A final ruling from the entire commission will be released before April 20th, 2012. After the final decision is made, there is a 60 day period of review by President Obama. The patent deals with a program called ActiveSync which is used throughout the wireless mobile industry and is licensed by manufacturer's including Apple and also by Google.

Earlier this year, Microsoft started off its case against Motorola at the ITC by claiming infringement on patents relating to the battery charge indicator and email sync. Microsoft late last year sought to ban certain Motorola models from being sold in the States. Those models were The Motorola Droid 2, Motorola Droid X, Motorola Cliq XT, Motorola Devour, Motorola Backflip and Motorola Charm. These names give away how long ago the suit was filed as most of those models are no longer actively sold by carriers in the States.

Using the "best defense is a great offense" technique, Motorola's press release says that Microsoft continues to infringe on patents in Motorola's huge patent portfolio and in fact, has active litigation against the Redmond based company in different venues including the ITC and will continue to press these complaints. Scott Offer, Motorola Mobility's senior vice president and general counsel said that the company is happy that the majority of the rulings were in Motorola Mobility's favor.

This is the second straight day where the ITC ruled that some features of phones running Google's open source OS are using unlicensed technology belonging to other companies. David Howard, General Counsel for Microsoft said that as Samsung, Acer and HTC have found out, respecting other firm's intellectual property is the best way to do business. On Monday, the entire ITC ruled that HTC had violated patents belonging to Apple.

Like HTC's comments yesterday about a workaround that would eliminate the need to license Apple's technology, there is talk about Motorola removing the offending software from its phones. Still, with just about every handset manufacturer suing each other in a legal daisy chain, settlement talks might be the best way to solve these patent battles.

source: Motorola, Bloomberg


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