Motorola Mobility has gone down to defeat once more in Germany and again it is Microsoft standing in the Winner's Circle. In Munich I Regional Court, Presiding Judge Dr. Peter Guntz ruled that the Android OS infringes on the invention protected by claim 23 of EP1040406. The patent covers software that allows an application to receive input from different sources
such as a touch on an on-screen QWERTY, or a voice command, without the app having to make any changes in its underlying software. This is a function that most Android apps use and the U.S. version of the patent is the subject of another court battle between Microsoft and Motorola Mobility in the Western District of Washington.
Motorola Mobility was found to have infringed on this patent
Technically, Microsoft won two decisions on Thursday with one coming against Motorola Mobility (the U.S. company owned by Google) with the other victory coming against Motorola Mobility's German subsidiary and a German distribution company. Both cases deal with the German market and can be appealed by Google. While making its case for an appeal, Google will probably ask for a stay of the injunction, but such stays are very unusual in the country. The next step is for Microsoft to put up a bond in the amount of 37.5 million EUR for each ruling, for a total of 75 million EUR ($97 million USD). You might remember in the past that we explained that the bond covers the amount of sales that Motorola Mobility would be estimated to lose if Microsoft goes ahead with the injunction
and the ruling is later reversed. For an additional 10 million EUR for each ruling, Microsoft can force a recall of infringing devices which would take them out of stores and in theory, out of current owners hands as well.
Google could have a little problem with this ruling because unlike other patents, this one does not offer an easy workaround. Without a stay, and as we've said, those are hard to come by in Germany, Google might have to pull out of the German market temporarily while it goes about designing a workaround. Of course, there is always the solution that Microsoft would like to see. That would be for Motorola Mobility to sign some type of royalty deal in exchange for a license to use the technology covered by the ruling. The good news is that Motorola Mobility is the only Android manufacturer without such a deal from Microsoft which means that other Android heavyweights like Samsung and HTC aren't involved.
In the same courthouse, in front of the same judge
, Apple last week won an injunction against Motorola for the latter's use of Apple's rubber-banding technology
without a license.