Motorola Mobility infringes Microsoft patents, German court rules

Motorola Mobility infringes Microsoft patents, German court rules

Summary: Microsoft has won a patent case against Google-owned Motorola Mobility after the phone maker was found by a German court to have infringed a soft-keyboard patent.

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A Munich court has ruled that Motorola Mobility, a division of Google, infringes a patent owned by Microsoft relating to software keyboards.

The Redmond, WA.-based software giant can now enforce an injunction on Motorola devices that infringe on the patent, EU Patent No. EP1040406, described as a "soft input panel system and method."

The Google-owned smartphone hardware maker will now have to modify the Android operating system to remove the infringing technology from the device, or pay Microsoft a license fee to use the technology in Germany. If Microsoft enforces the injunction, it could see infringing devices pulled from store shelves.

Microsoft deputy general counsel David Howard said in a statement emailed to ZDNet:

We're pleased this decision builds on previous rulings in Germany that have already found Motorola is broadly infringing Microsoft's intellectual property. We will continue to enforce injunctions against Motorola products in Germany and hope Motorola will join other Android device makers by taking a license to Microsoft's patented inventions.

The software giant has now hit the patent jackpot four times in a row with the software keyboard ruling.

Microsoft most recently brought a case to the U.S. International Trade Commission, which ruled Motorola infringed a Microsoft-owned ActiveSync patent. The injunction kicked in July 18, which prevents Motorola from importing infringing products into the country. 

A Munich court recently ruled Motorola infringed a Microsoft patent relating to SMS messaging on May 24, in which Microsoft enforced an injunction forcing Motorola to remove infringing products from sale in Germany. 

Microsoft also won a ruling in July that saw more Motorola devices pulled from the stores, after the smartphone hardware infringed a FAT patent that covers long-name and short-name file indexing.

Microsoft has to pay a bond of €37.5 million ($48.6) for each patent in Germany -- a total of €75 million together ($97.1m) -- or pay an extra €10 million ($12.9m) on top of that to enforce a device recall, FOSS Patents author Florian Mueller notes.

Google was told by the Munich court today that it can appeal the ruling, which it will likely do.

Topics: Microsoft, Android, Google, Legal, Patents, EU

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31 comments
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  • Motorola Mobility infringes Microsoft patents, German court rules

    Kudos to Microsoft's legal team for rightly protecting what is theirs. I love how Microsoft can make more money from android than Google can.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • @ a mafia fan

      >> I love how Microsoft can make more money from android than Google can.
      You know, you must be a fan of those guys from Palermo, Chicago and many other places (they call themselves "my family"). Nice guys they are, usually don't stir a finger to make millions of € and $, just gotta be good at racketeering. This very faculty unites them with the company you are cheering for right now.
      eulampius
      • I'm not following you on that

        Explain to us how protecting your technology is equivalent to the mafia? I don't see any relation between the two. Surely you don't feel that companies should spend billions on technology and have it stolen by other companies and use it for free. If Google wants to use it they can license it. Microsoft is giving them that choice and trying to work with them.
        Loverock Davidson-
        • you tell

          me how MS uses Motorola's technology without paying a buck in Germany and has the audacity to complain about it to a court in Seattle http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20120915115308290 ? If there is an obvious with a lot of prior art trick, MS and Apple are first to reap on it, if they use some non obvious stuff, they resort to the FRAND defense whining that its too high a license for them.
          eulampius
          • Groklaw?

            You are seriously trying to use a groklaw article to prove your point? That is hilarious. That site is a joke as is PJ. You tell me how Motorola is using Microsoft technology without paying a buck.
            Loverock Davidson-
          • and you

            must be drawing your inspiration upon the fosspatents or the good ol' "get the facts" propaganda?
            eulampius
          • FRAND is not a defense, it's a condition of acceptance into the standard

            Moto AGREED to it. If moto hadnt already PROMISED to license it tech on fair and reasonable terms, which btw it does not get to set, then it wouldn't have been incorporated and required for everyone else to use. Renegging on the frand promise should invite the courts to determins that the fair and reasonable term is henceforth free. And every standards body should be waking up to the fact that they need to get the fair and reasonable terms completely hammered out in writing before accepting any technology into any standards on those grounds.
            Johnny Vegas
          • Actually, reneging on FRAND terms...

            invites anti-trust issues, which is big-time trouble.
            msalzberg
        • Is Loverock Davidson an ostrich?

          Loverock seems to shove his head in the sand (like an ostrich :). Even the so-called creator of windows once said that patents would stifle developement. Its a pity he didn't listen to himself (BG). How much money does a company have to make from other peoples innovations. as far as I can tell numerouse patents held by microsoft, once belonged to small companies that couldn't afford to fight for their right to survival.
          deanm58
  • may I suggest a renaming

    of the Microsoft Corporation along with recent rebranding?
    Microscum Corporation sounds good.
    eulampius
    • If you are hit with a theft ...

      do you therefore become a scum?
      LBiege
      • If violating anyone of the patents

        USPTO hands out is theft, your favourite company also steals.
        synop
      • I tried to be pollite

        and never suggested Microsucks (ongoing IE vuln exploit saga and a lot more) nor a Microshit corp.
        eulampius
        • Ignorance, truly is bliss...

          Yeah! Like the 24 flaws found last month in the browser... 11 of which were rated serious !!!! Oh... sorry... wait... that was Chrome, not IE... look it up in US-CERT's Sept. wrap up report... does anyone actually read the news anymore?
          JohnGerad
  • Heat-seeking missile finds own afterburner. Film at 11.

    This was probably not what Google thought they were buying when they spent $13 billion to acquire Motorola Mobility.

    In other news, today's Two Minutes' Hate directed against Apple for their patent infringement lawsuits has been canceled.
    Robert Hahn
    • Actually, I'm extremely glad Google bought Motorola

      Because unlike other manufacturers, Google is not going to bend over and settle to save themselves the trouble of going through lawsuits. We'll know now for sure exactly what Microsoft thinks it should get $15 per handset over.
      synop
      • Agreed

        Yes, that is actually useful. Assuming Google can now engineer a different (and non-infringing) method of performing the same function, all the guys like HTC who caved in early can presumably let their licensing agreements expire when they come due.
        Robert Hahn
      • 4 of them were identified in just this article.

        I wonder how long and in how many countries google will let sale of moto devices be banned in while they spend years in court with MS. It would certainly change verizons handset line up if it lost it's droids.
        Johnny Vegas
    • Apple and Microsoft

      are a scumbag twin of companies equally held in both contempt and abomination.
      eulampius
      • google is the problem

        they steal other companies IP and try to make it their own. google brings no value to anything but search and advertising.
        hopp64