U.S. judge rejects 13 Google-Motorola patent claims against Microsoft

U.S. judge rejects 13 Google-Motorola patent claims against Microsoft

Summary: The team of Google and Motorola Mobility have suffered a major setback in one patent war against Microsoft.


A federal judge in Washington state has invalidated more than a dozen patent claims in the case of Microsoft v. Motorola.

Right now, the winner (of this particular skirmish) is Microsoft over Google-owned Motorola Mobility.

On Wednesday, Judge James L. Robart of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, issued an order in favor of Microsoft, invalidating 13 patent claims.

Those claims are in reference to just three patents (U.S. Patent No. 7,310,374, U.S. Patent No. 7,310,375, U.S. Patent No. 7,310,376) -- all of which have to do with encoding and decoding digital video content.

Microsoft had petitioned that the "means for decoding" and the "means for using" elements of the patents in question be declared as invalid based on a specific U.S. patent law specification, and the court has consented.

Following up a detailed technical analysis of the petition, here's an excerpt from Robart's order explaining his decision:

Finally, as stated, decoding and encoding are entirely different functions. Thus, even were a person of ordinary skill in the art able to devise an algorithm for decoding the function from the disclosed encoding description, that alone does not rescue the disputed means limitations from indefiniteness. Were that the case, any means-plus-function limitation could be saved from indefiniteness by an expert’s testimony that he or she could have written computer code to perform the recited function based on unrelated disclosures in the specification. The specification needs to provide a decoding algorithm from which to base the understanding of one skilled in the art, and the court can find no such algorithm within the specification. Instead, the "means for decoding" limitations claim all corresponding structure under the sun by expansively defining the function in the specification as anything that decodes digital data. This definition renders the "means for decoding" limitation invalid for indefiniteness.

However, there are still more claims related to this trio of patents waiting for a ruling.

FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller explained a bit further, predicting on Thursday that these claims could also still be denied.

Most patent claims are actually invalidated for anticipation (lack of novelty) or obviousness (lack of inventive step over the prior art). Such questions can be decided on summary judgment but most of the time are put before a jury, while indefiniteness is for a judge to decide.

Mueller added that if any of these claims are upheld in Motorola's favor, Microsoft still might have a chance to license them under FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms.

For a full look at the judge's order, scroll through the document below:

Microsoft v. Motorola: Order Invalidating Patents by

Topics: Legal, Google, Microsoft, Mobility, Patents

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  • Thieves (Google) will lose ultimately...

    12 billion down the drain for Google... and Microsoft has beaten Google in all the court cases around the world. It's time for Google/Motorola to show the white flag and sit down to talk like mature people.
    • And people say that Microsoft is the "pattent troll"

      Microsoft isn't the only company that sues other companies over potential infringed patents. Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, Oracle, etc all do it. Google is not some "free liberating open source organization" with a halo over its head. It's a company just like everyone else.
      • Grammer mistake

        *Patent* troll
        • Speling Police

          O my....
      • True

        People think Google is this great do no evil company that's so much better than "M$ and Crapple."
        The fact is, Google is just as bad as Microsoft and Apple.
        Stephan Sevenyoln
        • Worse

          Worse because they are hypocrites. And cry-babies.
    • Brought buy....

      "A federal judge in Washington State".
      "Microsoft Corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington".

      Now, who is stupid enough to think Microsoft was going to lose in their home State?; if Google was smart, they will appeal (not in the Western USA, owed by MS & Apple) this ruling.
      Marty K
      • If You Think...

        Our court system is this corrupt, why do you think they can get a fair trial anywhere in the United States of America???? Hmmmm!
  • U.S. judge rejects 13 Google-Motorola patent claims against Microsoft

    Justice has been served.
    • justice

      has been raped
      • Errrr......

        So I guess you're saying that maybe Microsoft paid off the judge or something? Get a life.
        • its home

          court and a judge. You know how justice is done for the kin and local folks?
  • I don't like MS but this case Good Job MS!!!

    Time to teach disgusting Google thieves a lesson. Good job MS!!
    • you don't

      like MS but seem to like their ass. An apple fan?
      • Again....

        Get a life. You really need one.
  • What an Internet joke you two are.

    Owlll1net & Loverock-Davidson, pre-programmed responses.

    There is a world outside the USA you know, and it doesn't recognise your stifled view of free enterprise.

    You are sucking up to a company bereft of innovation and ideas, a company thrashing about wondering why its old anticompetitive practices don't work.

    Microsoft are as outdated, as relevant, as yourselves.
    • Those two were supporting MS not Google.

      At least that was my take. Given you thought they were supporting Google, a company bereft of innovation and ideas, I thought I would set you straight:-)
    • it's a German court

    • Errr.....

      OK. You can go back to compiling your binaries to fix your Linux distro.
      Microsoft's anti-competitive practices? Where? Show me? Links?
      • EU that where!

        Duh huh? Do you live in this world? Google it.