Motorola scores rare win in Microsoft patent dispute

Summary:In an ongoing dispute over patents, while Microsoft has been leading the wins in the running battle, Motorola Mobility won a rare victory against the software giant.

Motorola has scored a rare win over Microsoft in an ongoing litigation battle over patent infringement claims in a German court, denying Microsoft a further sales ban against Motorola Mobility's products.

The Mannheim Regional Court ruled that Google-owned Motorola Mobility did not infringe a Microsoft-owned patent. The technology in question describes a series of developer APIs that allow applications to work on multiple devices. But EU Patent No. EP1233343 was not infringed by the Android phone maker, the court said.

But the Redmond, WA.-based software giant said that today's loss does not impact a string of injunctions its against the rival phone maker, which have already been granted and enforced in the country, according to Reuters.

The judge in the case did not explain the reasons behind the ruling today, says FOSS Patents author Florian Mueller.

Microsoft and Motorola Mobility remain in the grip of courtroom battles as the companies fight it out over a range of smartphone patents. 

The software giant has already won three cases against Motorola Mobility in Germany, which forced the Google-owned unit to pull many of its devices from the store shelves or modify the Android software where software patents were infringed .

Microsoft's chief lawyers said in August that it wants "patent peace," and doesn't want to fight . In a blog post by Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith and deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez  said that the company "always has been, and remains open to, a settlement of our patent litigation with Motorola."

Google bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion last year. The deal finally went ahead after Chinese regulators gave the green light to the merger, which faced opposition by some rivals. 

Just yesterday, Google said it would extent the cuts it would make to its Motorola Mobility unit , and would swallow a charge of $340 million in total for the third-quarter. But some were quick to point out that already the $12.5 billion cost for the company has now risen to $13 billion.

"Google bought the Titanic. And they bought it when it was already underwater," said venture capitalist and former writer MG Siegler in a blog post.

Image source: Flickr.

Topics: Patents, Google, Microsoft, Smartphones

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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