Saturday, June 30, 2012

(BN) Google’s Motorola Win in Microsoft Xbox Case Sent Back

June 30 (Bloomberg) -- A U.S. trade agency ordered one of its judges to reconsider his findings that Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox gaming system infringes patents owned by Google Inc.'s Motorola Mobility unit, in a case that could lead to an import ban of the consoles.

The U.S. International Trade Commission said in a notice posted on its website yesterday that it told Judge David Shaw to revisit his determination that Microsoft was violating four of five Motorola Mobility patents. The agency has the power to block Xbox consoles made in Asia from entering the U.S.

The commission told the judge to weigh a request filed by Microsoft June 22 to have two of the five patents dropped from the case, according to the notice. The panel also asked Shaw to consider the case in light of a precedent-setting decision that it issued last year in a case won by Apple Inc. over digital images software.

Motorola Mobility filed the complaint in November 2010 in retaliation for Microsoft's contention that it's owed patent royalties on phones that run on Google's Android operating system. The ITC has ordered Motorola Mobility to remove a feature synchronizing e-mails and meetings that's covered by a Microsoft patent, or face an import ban on its Android phones.

The companies are suing each other in the U.S. and Germany as part of a broader battle for share of a mobile-device market that Boston-based market researcher Yankee Group has projected will reach $360 billion this year. Apple, maker of the iPhone, also has a patent dispute with Libertyville, Illinois-based Motorola Mobility, which was bought by Google in May.

Disputed Patents

Microsoft's entertainment unit, which includes the Xbox, generated $8.9 billion in sales last year, or 13 percent of the company's revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Motorola Mobility contends Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft is infringing two patents that cover aspects of an industry standard for video decoding, two for Wi-Fi technology and a fifth patent on a way to establish communication between the Xbox and accessories. The second Wi-Fi patent wasn't infringed, the judge said April 23.

The Motorola Mobility case against Microsoft is In the Matter of Gaming and Entertainment Consoles, 337-752 and the Microsoft case against Motorola Mobility is In the Matter of Mobile Devices, Associated Software and Components Thereof, 337-744, both U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

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