Google Could Lose Patent Suit Against Microsoft
While a final decision will not come before July, U.S. International Trade Commission Judge David Shaw has stated that Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Xbox game console did not infringe on a patent owned by Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Motorola Mobility division.
In a statement released this weekend, Shaw said that the purported violation "has not occurred in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, or the sale within the United States after importation, of certain gaming and entertainment consoles, related software, or components thereof that are alleged to infringe asserted claims 1 and 12 of U.S. Patent No. 6,069,896."
This lawsuit, which once included five patents, was initially filed in 2010. At the time, Motorola Mobility was still an independent firm. When Google acquired the device maker in 2012, the company inherited Motorola's lawsuit.
Instead of dropping the case, Google decided to proceed. According to Bloomberg, Motorola demanded that Microsoft pay $4 billion a year in patent royalties for use of technology that it believed was critical to the Xbox's functionality.
Thus far, Motorola has been unsuccessful in proving that the technology, critical or not, actually infringed on its patents.
Motorola thought that it had made some progress in April 2012 when Shaw gave his first preliminary decision, announcing that Microsoft infringed on four out of five of the patents in question. According to Reuters, the International Trade Commission sent the case back to the judge for reconsideration before a final decision was made. Since that time, four of the patents have been dropped from the complaint.
As expected, Microsoft and Google had differing reactions to the news.
"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, corporate VP and deputy general counsel of Microsoft, told Reuters in an e-mail.
"We are disappointed with today's determination and look forward to the full commission's review," Google spokesman Matt Kallman told Reuters, also via e-mail.
While this patent dispute is one of the largest and longest-running suits in technology, it has not received as much attention as the ongoing battle between Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung. The two tech giants have been fighting worldwide over the use of various patents, with both firms claiming that their patents have been violated.
Apple appeared to have taken the lead after a United States jury found that Samsung had infringed on the Mac maker's patents and ordered Samsung to pay $1 billion in damages. After an appeal, a controversy and a number of additional court appearances, Judge Lucy Koh reduced the award by $450 million. Koh also announced that while the old verdict stands, a new jury trial would be used to decide how much Samsung should pay for infringing on Apple's patents.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
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