Google retreats; drops key patent claim against Microsoft

Google's Motorola Mobility unit has asked the ITC to sweep two patent complaints under the carpet.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
ftc google itc withdraw two 2 patent claims allegation microsoft xbox

Google's Motorola Mobility unit has asked the International Trade Commission (ITC) to drop two patents deemed key to the case it has filed against Microsoft over patent infringement allegations.

The tech giant's change of heart comes after it filed the complaint against Microsoft's XBox console, which the company said infringed on two wireless technology-related patents owned by Google's recent acquisition. Once the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) completed its investigation of Google's alleged antitrust behavior, in order to settle the case, Google was required to agree to limits concerning when it would ask courts to block products the company believed infringe on Motorola-owned patents. However, there is little clarification on how the FTC's ruling has -- or will -- affect current litigation.

Microsoft considers the two patents standard-essential, and has previously refused to license them for Google's demand of up to $4 billion a year. In return, Google had asked the ITC to halt the sales of the XBox within the United States.

Within the FTC's ruling, Google is now required to offer a number of patents deemed standard-essential to the industry on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recommended within a report that allowing sales bans in patent-related cases should be the exception to the rule, as it has the potential to impact competition and innovation within the industry.

According to a filed motion to dismiss the two disputed technologies, one patent remains outstanding in the spat between the two tech firms.

David Howard, Microsoft's deputy general counsel, said in an emailed statement to Reuters:

"We're pleased that Google has finally withdrawn these claims for exclusion orders (sales bans) against Microsoft, and hope that it will now withdraw similar claims pending in other jurisdictions."

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