ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

Summary: The U.S. ITC has issued a preliminary ruling in Microsoft's case against Motorola Mobility and has found Motorola to be violating one of seven patents in question.

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The preliminary ruling in the U.S. International Trade Commission case involving Microsoft and Motorola Mobility is in, as of December 20.

The ITC found that Motorola Mobility is in violation of one of Microsoft's patents, U.S. Patent No. 6,370,566. This patent, makes it possible for users to schedule meetings from their mobile devices. Here's a link to the initial determination from today.

Florian Mueller, of FOSS Patents blog fame (and who is doing a paid study for Microsoft on FRAND patents), has a chart explaining more about patent '566.

Microsoft had been seeking to prove that Motorola Mobility infringed seven of its mobile patents.

Microsoft's official statement, attributable to David Howard, Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel:

“We are pleased with the ITC’s initial determination finding Motorola violated four claims of a Microsoft patent. As Samsung, HTC, Acer and other companies have recognized, respecting others’ intellectual property through licensing is the right path forward.”

The next step in this case is a final determination by the six-member commission. Then the ITC judge takes the staff's opinions into account in making a final decision.

Microsoft sued Motorola on October 1, 2010, over alleged infringement of Motorola’s Android smartphones on Microsoft’s patents. On November 9, Microsoft sued Motorola again over wireless and video coding patents that are used by the Xbox and smartphones. In the latter case, Microsoft claimed that Motorola is charging excessive royalties for its patents. Motorola retaliated with its own countersuit on November 10, 2010, claiming infringement of 16 of its patents by Microsoft’s PC and server software, Windows Mobile and Xbox products.

As Mueller noted in his post on the Administrative Law Judge's initial determination, the Microsoft-Motorola Mobility dispute is "now keeping multiple courts in the United States and Germany busy with more than 50 different patents-in-suit."

Earlier this month, European antitrust regulators suspended their review of Google's intended purchase of Motorola Mobility, and are seeking further information before the acquisition can proceed.

Updates: Microsoft is claiming that 18 devices include code from patent '566. The 18: Atrix, Backflip, Bravo, Charm, Cliq, Cliq 2, Cliq XT, Defy, Devour, Droid 2, Droid 2 Global, Droid Pro, Droid X, Droid X2, Flipout, Flipside, Spice, Xoom Tablet. Geekwire has a link to the Motorola Mobility statement, which includes the following information on what's next:

"The final decision in this case, based on the deliberation of the full ITC, is expected by April 20, 2012. The ITC’s final determination ruling would be subject to a 60-day review period by U.S. President Obama. The Company noted that sales outside the U.S. are not within the focus of the ITC."

Speaking of lawsuits... I never did note that the Novell vs. Microsoft antitrust case (dating back to the Windows 95 days) came to an end on December 16. The jury was hung (because of a lone juror), so Microsoft was off the hook and didn't have to pay Novell over $1 billion in damages. Microsoft has filed paperwork asking a federal judge to dismiss the case for good.

Topics: Mobility, Legal, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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27 comments
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  • RE: ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

    Too bad Microsoft has a problem respecting others??? intellectual property through licensing is the right path forward.
    Rick_Kl
    • Microsoft simply wants Motorola to stop slavishly copying them

      @Rick_Kl
      Or pay. Either or. Nothing wrong with that.
      toddybottom
      • RE: ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

        @toddybottom Just like Apple wants to stop Samsung from doing the same - and yet you side with Samsung. Go figure.
        athynz
      • RE: ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

        @toddybottom
        Yes, buy our OS which includes thousands of patents (and locks you into our ecosystem to the point that you can't even change the default search engine) or pay the same amount for just one.

        Nothing wrong with overcharging by 1000s of times the fair fee as long as it's given as an alternate option.

        Don't want that, you'll be blocked.
        anono
      • RE: ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

        @anono - Why can't you change the default search engine in IE?
        bitcrazed
      • RE: ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

        @bitcrazed
        The search button in WP7 always goes to Bing.
        anono
      • RE: ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

        @Pete "athynz" Athens
        please do your homework, Apple does NOT license it's IP.

        Jobs rule #1, if you cannot figure out a different way to do what we do, find a new job.

        personally I don't like that policy, but at least I know it is there before I open my mouth.
        aiellenon
    • RE: ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

      @Rick_Kl
      that patent is invalid. Legal scholars and OSS luminaries have already proven that this M$ lawsuit is frivolous. It will be overthrown by a competent judge on appeal!
      LlNUX Geek
      • RE: ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

        @Linux Guru Advocate Really? Do you have any links to prove that theory? Yeah I didn't think so.
        athynz
  • Pure comedy

    From the article:
    "This patent, makes it possible for users to schedule meetings from their mobile devices.

    Now THAT'S innovation!!! What on earth difference does it make whether one's computer is large and is sitting on their desk or is small and held in their hand?! The mobile devices in question are merely small computers that one carries around in their hand (or pocket).

    Here it (the patent) is in all of it's glory:

    http://www.patents.com/us-6370566.html
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • No better or worse than any of Apple's patents

      @Rabid Howler Monkey
      It is ridiculous that you can patent rectangular devices with rounded corners.
      toddybottom
      • RE: ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

        @toddybottom
        +1
        Ram U
      • RE: ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

        @toddybottom
        +1
        vivianvein
      • RE: ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

        @toddybottom And ridiculous that you can patent using another app while on the phone. Isn't that application multi-tasking since the phone software is an application also. I am guessing that one is not going to be enforcable since there must be prior art.
        rmark@...
    • There are approximately 11,000 patents that Motorola (Google) has.....

      @Rabid Howler Monkey

      That can be used against Microsoft. Many of those go back before the Razor, which sold millions, long before Microsoft had a mobile device. Microsoft may a have started a war it can not win.
      linux for me
      • RE: ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

        @linux for me

        Microsoft had their first mobile device in...the year 2000. The Razor came out later than that, I believe.
        Michael Alan Goff
    • RE: ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

      @Rabid Howler MonkeyAfter reading the patent, it seems to me it is a "slam dunk" and a "three pointer" and we will throw in "pick 6" just for good measure. It was an advance and was different from previous implementations it appears to me and also appeared so to the Patent office. Now whether or not something like that process should be patentable is another question --one that has been already deemed as a "yes" in current patent law and is irrelvent to the discussion. The patent exists and I cannot see how any mobile device Motorola made that included a meeting schedular and calendar could avoid infringing on that patent if it was to work. It seems like should simply pay the license and move on and create innovations of their own.
      brickengraver
      • RE: ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

        @brickengraver
        The issue is that Microsoft charges about $15 for their OS that covers 1000s of patents. They'll charge from what I've heard $15 for this one patent or block all devices that include this basic functionality.

        They are giving you an option between being overcharged by 1000s of times, locking you into their OS or being banned.

        If they charged anywhere near the fair value of the patent (and I base the fair value on how much they sell their whole OS for) then I'm sure Motorola wouldn't even bother going to court.
        anono
  • RE: ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

    is it one or four??
    deep@...
    • RE: ITC: Motorola violates one of Microsoft's mobile patents

      @deep@...
      Its four claims of Patent No. 6,370,566.
      daikon