Judge favors Motorola over Microsoft in Xbox 360 patent case

By on April 26, 2012, 8:30 AM

Microsoft has suffered a setback in a dispute with Motorola over patents involving technology in the Xbox 360. In a preliminary ruling Monday, US ITC Judge David Shaw found that Microsoft is infringing on four of the five patents in question. A six-member commission will review Shaw's decision and a final ruling is expected in August. Though unlikely, one outcome could see Microsoft's offending products banned in the US. Motorola seeks this action, but it's mostly viewed as an attempt to gain leverage.

Two of the patents involve Wi-Fi, two cover H.264 video, and one describes communication between consoles and accessories (5,319,712, 5,357,571, 6,069,896, 6,980,596 and 7,162,094). Shaw determined that one of the Wi-Fi patents isn't being infringed. Three of them are governed by fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms, a standard that strives to prevent licensing abuse. The rule set isn't working so well in this situation, as Motorola wants Microsoft to pay ~$4 billion for using patents.

Similar cases are ongoing between the two companies in other jurisdictions. In February, Microsoft claimed that Motorola and Google are trying to "kill video on the Web." In that case, Microsoft filed a complaint against Motorola in the EU, alleging that the mobile company violated its oath to offer 50 H.264 patents in a FRAND-complaint way. Motorola demanded 2.25% against the price of products using H.264, or about 1,000 times more than Microsoft pays to use 2,300 H.264 patents from 29 other companies.

"Motorola is demanding that Microsoft take its products off the market, or else remove their standards-based ability to play video and connect wirelessly. The only basis for these actions is that these products implement industry standards, on which Motorola claims patents. Yet when the industry adopted these standards, we all were counting on Motorola and every contributor to live up to their promises," Microsoft wrote at the time. "If every firm priced its standard essential patents like Motorola, the cost of the patents would be greater than all the other costs combined in making PCs, tablets, [and] smartphones."




User Comments: 10

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Guest said:

Honestly this is all bullshit, Shouldn't things like Wifi have organizations set up to license out it's use to companies like microsoft? Why is it that any company can patent a "Method" to doing something which they might never even use or for which they have no practical implementation. The patent system needs big time reforms to stop all of this patent "trolling" so the industry can focus more on new technologies than drawn out and pointless legal battles. (seriously what is a few million dollars in royalties to these big companies)

Guest said:

Yes, how dare them charge Microsoft so much for using their patents. Only Microsoft should be able to gouge the competition with outlandish patent expenses.

And let Microsoft claim none of the other 29 companies are charging so much for their patents, but omit to say the reason they are doing it is because if they do not you will squish them like a bug.

RubinOnRye RubinOnRye said:

Why does everybody think it's Microsoft who does a majority of suing due to patents when really it's apple that is court happy.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

Two thoughts...

1. Lawsuits are not a way to settle disputes anymore but a business model.

2. I find it humorous that companies who want all these strict patent laws get burnt by them. You can picture some dumb CEO scratching his or her head thinking "it was a good idea at the time"

Guest said:

Good on you motorola thank god now microsoft will feel the pain in being forced to pay up I was wondering when microsoft will begin to feel it I mean come on what do you expect you do the same so why not have the same done to you, I just hope microsoft learns its lesson and starts being nice!

Guest said:

Motorola doesnt want to charge everyone that way, its just u Microsoft !!!

Guest said:

Microsoft is doing consumers good? I agree, they are doing us all, they've been doing us for years. Now someone's doing them, and they don't like it

Guest said:

Even Judge wants an update to Xbox :)

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