Mi­crosoft wins suit against Google Patents

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Mi­crosoft Corp.'s Xbox video-gam­ing sys­tem doesn't vi­o­late the patent rights of Google Inc. (GOOG)'s Mo­torola Mo­bil­ity unit, a U.S. trade judge said.

In a one-para­graph no­tice yes­ter­day, U.S. In­ter­na­tional Trade Com­mis­sion Judge David Shaw sided with Mi­crosoft in the case. His find­ings are sub­ject to re­view by the six-mem­ber com­mis­sion, which has the power to block im­ports of prod­ucts that in­fringe U.S. patents.

The judge's find­ings re­late to a patent for a way to es­tab­lish com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the Xbox and ac­ces­sories. It's all that's left of a case that orig­i­nally in­volved five patents, in­clud­ing two on widely used tech­nol­ogy for video de­cod­ing, and led to ac­cu­sa­tions by Mi­crosoft and reg­u­la­tors that Mo­torola Mo­bil­ity was mis­us­ing patents to thwart com­pe­ti­tion.

"We are pleased with the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Law Judge's find­ing that Mi­crosoft did not vi­o­late Mo­torola's patent and are con­fi­dent that this de­ter­mi­na­tion will be af­firmed by the Com­mis­sion," David Howard, Mi­crosoft's cor­po­rate vice pres­i­dent and deputy gen­eral coun­sel, said in a state­ment.

Google can pe­ti­tion the com­mis­sion to over­rule the judge's find­ings and im­pose an im­port ban. "We are dis­ap­pointed with to­day's de­ter­mi­na­tion and look for­ward to the full Com­mis­sion's re­view," Matt Kall­man, a Google spokesman, said in a state­ment.

Mo­torola Mo­bil­ity, then a stan­dalone com­pany, filed the ITC com­plaint in Novem­ber 2010, in re­tal­i­a­tion for Mi­crosoft's de­mands for roy­al­ties on phones us­ing Google's An­droid op­er­at­ing sys­tem. Mi­crosoft has set up a li­cens­ing pro­gram for com­pa­nies that make An­droid de­vices and won an ex­clu­sion or­der against Mo­torola Mo­bil­ity phones us­ing a fea­ture called Ac­tiveSync, which lets users co­or­di­nate sched­ules be­tween their phones and per­sonal com­put­ers.

The Xbox is the most pop­u­lar game con­sole in the U.S., ahead of the Sony Corp. PlayS­ta­tion and Nin­tendo Co. Wii. Mi­crosoft's en­ter­tain­ment unit, which in­cludes the Xbox, gen­er­ated $9.6 bil­lion in sales last year, or 13 per­cent of the com­pany's rev­enue, ac­cord­ing to data. Shaw in April said four of the five patents in the case were in­fringed. The com­mis­sion or­dered him to re­visit the case, in part be­cause of a prece­dent-set­ting de­ci­sion it is­sued in an un­re­lated case over dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing whether the in­fringe­ment oc­curred be­fore or af­ter the prod­uct was im­ported.

Mo­torola Mo­bil­ity dropped the two video-de­cod­ing patents af­ter Moun­tain View, Cal­i­for­nia-based Google reached an agree­ment with the U.S. Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion in Jan­uary re­gard­ing how it deals with patents that re­late to in­dus­try­wide stan­dards.

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