ITC: Motorola infringed one of Microsoft’s mobile patents, affects Atrix, Droid and Xoom tablet

By Tom Warren, on 20th Dec 11 11:25 pm with 11 Comments

The patent battle between Motorola and Microsoft heated up once again on Tuesday.

An administrative law judge for the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled on Tuesday that Motorola has infringed on one of Microsoft’s patents. The patent in question covers meeting scheduling and appointments from mobile devices. The patent was originally filed in 2002 and forms part of seven patents at the heart of Microsoft’s complaint against Motorola. The software giant accused Motorola Mobility of infringing seven patents that the company holds. Microsoft asked the ITC to block imports of some Motorola Android phones in the United States as part of the complaint.

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

Microsoft’s claims center around mobile phone patents which is slowly becoming the battle ground for Google, Apple and Microsoft. Google announced earlier this year that it plans to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. Google CEO Larry Page noted at the time of the deal announcement that Microsoft and Apple are “banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android.” Citing recent patent auctions, Page expects that Google’s acquisition will help protect Android in the future. A number of analysts believe Google’s deal could be beneficial to Microsoft’s Windows Phone, creating more competition between the three major smartphone operating systems.

Motorola responded to the ruling on Tuesday by welcoming clarity on the definition of Microsoft’s patent. ”We are very pleased that the majority of the rulings were favorable to Motorola Mobility,” said Scott Offer, senior vice president and general counsel of Motorola Mobility.  “The ALJ’s initial determination may provide clarity on the definition of the Microsoft 566 patent for which a violation was found and will help us avoid infringement of this patent in the U.S. market.”

Microsoft claims the ruling will affect 18 of Motorola’s products. Horacio Gutiérrez, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, revealed the figure in a Twitter message on Tuesday. “At least 18 Motorola products impacted by ITC’s finding of patent infringement by Motorola, including the Atrix, Droid and Xoom tablet,” said Gutiérrez.

  • Guest

    Motorola has to be happy about escaping on 5 of 6. I’m surprised MS wasn’t able to win on more. Still, I guess one is all that’s needed to force a license or rewrite.

    • Guest

      6 of 7 actually.

  • Pinktacoyummmmm

    LOL pretty soon Google will be paying Microsoft LOL

    You steal you pay google! Not good move paying moto.

  • trashoner

    Well seems like somebody from the motorola PR dep. had its hand on that last statement. This is like saying we didn’t know we were stealing intelectual property from Microsoft but know that we got cought we wont do it anymore.

  • JAson

    go microsoft and apple kill that little green robot. that will teach them to be innovate not stealing from others

  • Anonymous

    WAIT…you’re telling me stealing software and violating patents is actually .. illegal?..WAAAAAAAAAAAT? Does Google know this?

    • Louis Sandiford

      You are truly a master of subtlety.

  • Anonymous

    Microsoft has a further 23-24 Patents lined up for Motorola :) Going at the current rate, expect 3-4 more to have been infringed.

  • Anonymous

    so, Microsoft. I have an Atrix and would love for you to give me one of those shiny new L800′s….. AT&t Please and Thank you. (or better yet the 900 W/ LTE. :)

  • Anonymous

    To me, this is all a set up for a future where the Haves Have…and the Have Not’s…well, you get the point… There is no way to avoid patent infringement when innovation is being stifled. It’s like patenting a particular route around a city block. Sure, when there aren’t that many people, and the blocks are plentiful, the chance of infringement is less likely… But lower the quantity of blocks and increase the people, and someone is bound to walk the way you walked. To me, all of these patent lawsuits are simply to weed out the rest…to ensure that people do not have choices and, subsequently increase the prices. I guess I’m still looking at a Windows Phone in the future–only because it looks like Microsoft and Apple will be the rulers of telecommunication…and I want all of my devices (Win7-8, WP7-8) to conveniently interact with each other… Android is beautiful in the Google eco-system, but unless I go all the way to the cloud, the interoperability is lacking (for instance: having a local mail client with all of my Google Contacts without upgrading to business class or exporting and importing periodically). It is the copyright infringement and Nazi-ism that is preventing simple things like this from erecting. I understand it, but I surely don’t respect it.

    These lawsuits don’t hurt the multinational corporations in the slightest…has nothing to do with hurting them. It’s about making you believe that there’s only one, true choice…take Apple for example…and now Microsoft…

    How free the markets are in the U.S….

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