No End in Sight to Microsoft-Motorola Case

     (CN) – A federal judge refused to grant judgment in an ongoing lawsuit over technology patents for the Xbox and Windows 7, one month after chiding Motorola and Microsoft for their “arrogant” and profit-driven maneuvers.
     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 Microsoft’s amended complaint.
     Microsoft claimed it relied on Motorola’s promises in developing its Xbox video game consoles, Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7.
     The tech giant sought a ruling that Motorola had a binding contract with the standards organizations to license the patents on “reasonable and non-discriminatory” (RAND) terms.
     U.S. District Judge James Robart denied both parties’ demands for summary judgment last week.
     Though Motorola said that Microsoft had repudiated its third-party rights under the contract, the decision says “Motorola points to no positive statement or action by Microsoft indicating that Microsoft will not perform its end of the bargain.”
     “Indeed […] Microsoft has affirmatively represented that it will take a RAND license from Motorola for the standard essential patents,” Robart added.
     The court also reserved judgment on Microsoft’s claim that Motorola’s licensing offers were “blatantly unreasonable.”
     Motorola has shown that it received comparable royalty rates for the patents.
     Microsoft further failed to show that Motorola’s standard essential patent portfolios were only part of the technology involved in the disputed patents.
     At a hearing on the dueling motions in May, Judge Robart reportedly had harsh words about both companies’ use of the judicial system.
     “The court is well aware that it is being played as a pawn in a global industry-wide business negotiation,” Robart said, according the tech blog GeekWire.
     “The conduct of both Motorola and Microsoft has been driven by an attempt to secure commercial advantage, and to an outsider looking in, it has been arbitrary, it has been arrogant and frankly it appears to be based on hubris,” he added.
     Robart also remarked that the legal fees alone in this dispute “could finance a small country.”

%d bloggers like this: