ITC clears Microsoft of Google's Xbox patent violation claims

ITC clears Microsoft of Google's Xbox patent violation claims

Summary: The U.S. International Trade commission said Microsoft is free to continue to import Xboxes, after clearing the company of Google's patent violation claims.


The U.S. International Trade Commission decided on May 23 that the P2P wireless system in the Xbox doesn't violate Google patents.


Motorola Mobility, later purchased by Google, filed its original Xbox patent complaint in November 2010, claiming Xbox's communication system between the console and peripherals violated its patent. 

In March 2013, the ITC upheld a ruling clearing Microsoft of patent violation in the matter. Today, the ITC said it wouldn't overturn that finding.

"This is a win for Xbox customers and confirms our view that Google had no grounds to block our products," said David Howard, Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel in a prepared statement.

I asked Google officials if they had any reaction and have not received word back.

Update: A Google spokesperson said: "We're disappointed with this decision and are evaluating our options."

A copy of today's decision is available here.

Microsoft and Motorola have been warring over patents for the past several years. Microsoft sued Motorola on October 1, 2010, over alleged infringement of Motorola’s Android smartphones on Microsoft’s patents. On November 9 of that year, 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. Motorola, and later, its owner Google, was seeking to block U.S. imports of the Xbox as part of its case.

Google purchased Motorola Mobility in 2011.

Topics: Patents, Google, Legal, Microsoft


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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  • Google is hosed

    They steal IP and the Motorola acquisition for a patent portfolio has backfired.

    When Google-ola ends up paying to use Microsoft patents - like every other good Android citizen - the overall cost of what is Google "innovation" will be very clear.
    • $croogle = patent troll

      Nice to see judges not falling for their scam.
  • Google overpaid for Motorola

    By all accounts, they paid Billions in order to possess a patent portfolio that they thought would allow them to sue their competitors for patent violations and thus secure their competitive position.

    But, so far at least, they have failed utterly.

    Those patents have not stood up, either in various Patent Offices (e.g. the USPTO), the courts in either the US or Europe, or various international standards organizations (e.g., the ITC).

    Did Google make a big booboo?

    Yes, at least by the evidence so far.
    Ian Easson
    • You seem to want to put words in their mouth

      Google always said they bought the Motorola patents to DEFEND against other patent trolls. I've not seen anything to suggest they were going to use them in a proactive way attack others.
      This case was already in progress before Google bought Motorola so you can't really lay the blame at their door.

      Oh but wait, we're randomly attacking companies with only half the information, no point sticking to the truth.
      Little Old Man
      • Well, as an example

        How about the case this article is about. That was Google buying ongoing litigation. It's not like they dropped the "proactive way attack others" lawsuits (plural) that were already in progress.

        Just like when Novell bought Digital Research not for its products but to own it's ongoing lawsuit against Microsoft, this is a case of aggressive patent trolling by acquisition.

        (Oh, and it didn't work out for Novell very well, either)
        Mike Galos
  • this is a great injustice

    Google will prevail on appeal and should add more patents to the lawsuit!
    The foss community stands firmly behind google and against M$ frivolous trials.
    The Linux Geek
    • Re: this is a great injustice

      It's not M$ anymore.
    • easy boy

      FOSS is not Google and Google is not FOSS. That's a lie.

      It is both Google and Microsoft against FOSS.
    • stupid with every statement

      "Google will prevail on appeal and should add more patents to the lawsuit!"

      This was the appeal, it got shot down.

      "The foss community stands firmly behind google and against M$ frivolous trials."

      Motorola (now Google) filed this frivolous lawsuit against Microsoft, not the other way around.

      "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln
  • What is Google's problem?

    Google really needed to have figured out that this was coming.

    Google needs to learn how to work with the rest of the industry to succeed in the long-term. Today, Google's strategy of "penetrate every category, overturn each business model" simply will not work. They have a fight with everyone (including partners like Samsung).

    I don't know whether it's arrogance or stupidity, but Google played the patent portfolio card really badly. Frankly, Microsoft might be vilified for its size and past misdemeanours, but Google does not seem to learn from history, repeats it and comes across looking arrogant and petulant.

    Google's attempts at home grown innovation are pathetic and frankly border on the ridiculous (i still don't believe Glass is worth the money and effort that GOOG is expending on it)
  • Google trying to play with the big boys...

    I hope Google realizes that Microsoft has been around the block a few times.

    Google looks like a little Chihuahua nippy at Microsoft's heels.
  • People Really need to understand what is going on

    The Google patents that were being used to try and prevent importation of the xBox were patents that were part of an standard. They are SEP or standard essential patents that were agreed to be licensed on FRAND terms-Fair, Reasonable, And Non-Discriminatory. MS has always been willing to enter into agreement at FRAND terms. But Google wanted exorbitant royalties. So now the court has decided what constitutes RAND terms and MS is going to pay that gladly. The MS patents from which it gets royalties from Android device makers are not SEPs but rather proprietary. MS can and does choose to license those patents but since they own them and they are not a part of an international standard, they can choose to license or not for whatever price they want to. These are two completely different kinds of patents, the SEPs which are the basis of much of Google and Samsung's suits and non-SEPs which are what MS is rightly exerting their power to collect royalties and to which almost every Android device maker has agreed to license.