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Motorola Can’t Interfere With German Xbox Sales

SEATTLE (CN) - A federal judge issued Microsoft a restraining order that may let it sell the Xbox in Germany as the Washington court sorts out a patent dispute with Motorola Mobility.

Though the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA) requires companies to make "essential" patents available for licensing, Microsoft claims that Motorola "broke its promises" to license essential wireless technology and video-coding patents.

Instead, Motorola demanded "royalties that are excessive and discriminatory," according to the amended complaint.

A court in Mannheim, Germany, is in the process of deciding if Microsoft illegally uses video-compression software in its Xbox 360 and Windows 7 software, in violation of an agreement with Motorola.

Concerned that Motorola would enjoin sales of the potentially infringing products in Germany, Microsoft asked the Washington court for a temporary restraining order. It said an injunction should not occur before the Washington court can rule on issues from the initial complaint.

U.S. District Judge James Robart granted the restraining order Thursday and ordered Microsoft to pay a $100 million bond.

"The court orders that, without prior leave of this court, Motorola is enjoined from enforcing any injunctive relief it may receive in the German court system relating to the patents at issue in Microsoft's Motion," the three-page decision states.

Robart's order will remain in effect until the court rules on Microsoft's motion for summary judgment on its breach of contract claim. A hearing on that claim will occur May 7.

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