Motorola’s war on Microsoft escalated on Wednesday after the company won an injunction against the company in Germany. What ground did the smartphone maker gain against the house of Windows? Microsoft cannot distribute and sell Windows 7, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, or the Xbox 360 in the country.
A Manheimm court determined that Microsoft’s products infringe on two patents held by Motorola, both of which describe technology essential in H.264 video coding and playback. Motorola said it is “pleased” with the decision. “Fair compensation is all that we have been seeking for our intellectual property,” said a statement from the company reprinted by BBC.
A Microsoft spokesman said that the Xbox 360 and other Microsoft goods will stay on sale. “Motorola is prohibited from acting on today’s decision, and our business in Germany will continue as usual while we appeal this decision and pursue the fundamental issue of Motorola’s broken promise.”
Microsoft plans to appeal the court’s decision based on Motorola’s broken promise, namely that it hasn’t established a fair licensing system for its patents on standardized technology. “This is one step in a long process, and we are confident that Motorola will eventually be held to its promise to make its standard essential patents available on fair and reasonable terms for the benefit of consumers who enjoy video on the Web,” said a company spokesman.
This is at the core of the international dispute between the two companies. Microsoft doesn’t deny that it’s using technology described in Motorola-owned patents. It claims that Motorola has failed to meet licensing obligations known as FRAND commitments that make its technology that has become standardized, such as the video coding patents in question, available to other businesses at acceptable rates. The licensing demands made by Motorola prior to the dispute would total $4 billion per year according to Microsoft.
Microsoft faces a potential injunction in the United States that could bar the same products from sale. A USITC judge ruled on Apr. 24 that the Xbox 360 violates four patents held by Motorola. A six-member commission is scheduled to review the decision on May 7 to determine whether or not Microsoft will be blocked from importing Xbox 360 consoles for sale in the U.S.
The unseen player in this dispute is Google, that pesky Microsoft competitor who’s in the process of purchasing Motorola for $12.5 billion. Why did Google buy a third-tier mobile phone maker? For their stable of 17,000 patents and the succulent licensing fees that come with them.