Judge: Microsoft infringed Motorola patents

Microsoft infringed Motorola Mobility’s patents in making its Xbox games consoles, a judge for the US International Trade Commission has ruled.

Judge: Microsoft infringed Motorola patents

ITC Judge David Shaw said that Microsoft infringed four patents, regarding wireless connectivity and video compression, and did not infringe on a fifth in the complaint. The full commission will review the judge’s decision and issue a final ruling in August.

Motorola – which is being acquired by Google – has asked for the ITC to bar Xboxes from being imported into the US.

Microsoft said it would press on with the case. “We remain confident the commission will ultimately rule in Microsoft’s favor,” it said in an emailed statement.

Microsoft continues to infringe Motorola Mobility’s patent portfolio, and we remain confident in our position

Motorola said it was pleased with the decision. “Microsoft continues to infringe Motorola Mobility’s patent portfolio, and we remain confident in our position,” the company said in a statement. “We look forward to the full commission’s ruling in August.”

The ITC, a US trade panel that investigates patent infringement involving imported goods, is a popular venue for patent lawsuits because it can bar the importation of infringing products and because its cases are ruled on quickly.

However, experts claim it’s unlikely Microsoft will be banned from selling the Xbox. “Even if an infringement of a patent presumed valid is deemed to have occurred, the ITC does not necessarily order an import ban or other measures, such as a cease-and-desist order,” legal expert Florian Mueller said in a blog post. “In this case, the public interest in preventing abuse of standard-essential patents will probably be a major issue.”

The patents in question relate to standard-based technologies, and Motorola is being investigated over how it charges licensing for such standard-essential patents by the European Commission – which Mueller notes carries more sway than the ITC.

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