Motorola denied Xbox ban in US and Germany

Judge decides Microsoft's console can't be banned in patent suit

In a recent court order obtained by the Verge, United States Federal Judge James Robart has ruled that smartphone vendor Motorola can't ban sales of Microsoft's Xbox 360 console in the US and Germany. Judge Robart decided that Motorola's patents were FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) type, meaning the inventions were critical to industry standards and should be licensed fairly.

Motorola was asking for damages of $4 billion (£2.5 billion) for Microsoft's patent-infringing use of the H.264 video codec and the IEEE 802.11 wireless local area network standard. Microsoft is willing to pay to license the patents, but argues that the fee should only be $1 million per year. The FRAND agreement between companies is aimed at allowing standards-essential patents to be licensed at decent rates. Accordingly, Judge Robart has decided that previous license fees owed to Motorola can be added to the final settlement once the case is decided.

“Because Motorola has always been required to grant Microsoft a RAND license agreement for its H.264 standard essential patents, as a matter of logic, the impending license agreement will adequately remedy Motorola as a matter of law,” read the court order.

“In sum, Motorola has not shown it has suffered an irreparable injury or that remedies available at law are inadequate to compensate for its injury. As such, the court need not reach the other elements of the standard for permanent injunctive relief.”

The case is still ongoing and will now be focused on determining a fair license rate for the patents.

[Image via BGR]

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Latest comments (2)

John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London5 years ago
Sooner or later a court somewhere is going to have to decide what a fair and reasonable price is for these types of patents and force everyone to stick to it, because at the moment the system's a complete mess. Patent owners are demanding huge fees (sometimes several dollars per device) for everything from ridiculous look and feel patents (like Apple's bounce back) to essential industry standards without which the device wouldn't work at all (like video decoding and basic networking functionality), while the device manufacturers are offering them a fraction of a cent per device in return.

Meanwhile both sides are spending a fortune on legal fees and wasting the time of courts around the world suing each other and demanding that their products be banned. The only people winning are the lawyers, and the real losers are the customers.
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 5 years ago
I think sooner or later courts will decide that no-one should be able to hold a patent that MUST be used by everyone in a given industry. The inventor should simply be given a flat (and reasonable) fee for each usage and that should be set in some kind of law.

Otherwise we really will get to a point where innovation has to stop simply because some company somewhere is holding a patent that everyone needs. Clearly the courts are starting to realise this and are showing it by refusing to ban people using these so called essential patents. The name alone says that people can't operate without these damned things.
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