Microsoft gets upper hand in first Google patent trial

SEATTLE Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:48pm EDT

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks about the upcoming release of Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 7, in Toronto, October 21, 2009. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks about the upcoming release of Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 7, in Toronto, October 21, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

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SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp came out on top in the first of two patent trials versus Google Inc's Motorola Mobility unit on Thursday, as a federal judge in Seattle ruled largely in its favor.

U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle said Microsoft owed only a fraction of the royalties Motorola had claimed for use of its technology in Microsoft's Xbox console.

Motorola had sought as much as $4 billion a year for use of its so-called standard, essential wireless and video patents, while Microsoft argued its rival deserved about $1 million a year. Robart decided the appropriate payment was about $1.8 million.

Microsoft welcomed the outcome.

"This decision is good for consumers because it ensures patented technology committed to standards remains affordable for everyone," said David Howard, Microsoft's Deputy General Counsel, in a statement.

A Motorola representative said: "Motorola has licensed its substantial patent portfolio on reasonable rates consistent with those set by others in the industry."

The ruling is a blow for Google, which bought Motorola for $12.5 billion, partly for its intellectual property stockpile. Robart's low valuation makes Motorola's patents a weaker bargaining chip for Google to negotiate licensing deals with others.

The second patent trial between the two, set for this summer in Seattle, will decide if Motorola breached its duty to license its standard, essential patents to Microsoft on fair terms.

The Microsoft-Motorola spat is just one strand of a wide-ranging battle over who owns the technology behind smartphones and other new electronic devices.

Apple Inc and Microsoft have been litigating in courts around the world against Google and its partners such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, which use the Android operating system on their hardware.

Apple contends that Android is basically a copy of its iOS smartphone software and Microsoft holds patents it contends cover a number of Android features.

The case in U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington is Microsoft Corp. vs. Motorola Inc., 10-cv-1823.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford and Phil Berlowitz)

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Comments (3)
SanPa wrote:
Android is Linux re-engineered to do IOS-like tasks. In a way, that makes Android novel …. kind of like tying a line to a bamboo cane and calling it a fishing rod novel.

Apr 26, 2013 9:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Vagrant wrote:
“Android is Linux re-engineered to do IOS-like tasks. In a way, that makes Android novel …. kind of like tying a line to a bamboo cane and calling it a fishing rod novel.”

iOS is OS X re-engineered to do cellphone tasks. OS X is just unix re-engineered. What’s your point?

Did you think that no one had a mobile UI before iOS?

Apr 26, 2013 3:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
blah77 wrote:
Our patent system is utterly broken. Where as it was orginally designed to protect one’s inventions and *real* innovation, now it is about who can patent the most obscure ideas and hire the best IP law firms in order to extract more “licensing fees” from rivals. In layman’s terms, one of those good ol’ “money making schemes”. Ah capitalism, ain’t it grand?

How can we expect foreign nations and corporations to respect our “intellectual property rights” when it is such a joke to begin with. I sure as hell wouldn’t. Pillage away my friends, pillage away.

Apr 27, 2013 2:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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