Motorola taking steps to avoid US sales ban

Google-owned Motorola Mobility has said that it plans to take measures to avoid a patent-related ban on its smartphones in the US.

An International Trade Commission ruling had ordered a halt on the import and sale of some Motorola handsets on the grounds that they infringe on a Microsoft-held patent related to Activesync, an application that allows users to create meeting requests and schedule events accordingly. The ban was scheduled to go into effect today (18 July).

"While we can't share specific details, we have employed a range of proactive measures to ensure there is no continuing infringement under the ITC's interpretation of this single Microsoft patent," said a Motorola Mobility spokesperson.

Motorola may, as Microsoft has previously demanded, adjust its offer to license the Activesync technology. In June, the Google-owned unit proposed a settlement under whose terms it would pay Microsoft 33 cents (20p) for each of its devices running ActiveSync. The company asked that Microsoft, in turn, pay an Xbox royalty of 2.25 per cent per console and a Windows licensing fee of 50 cents (30p) per copy of the operating system, as those products use Motorola patents.

"While we welcome any good faith settlement effort, it's hard to apply that label to a demand that Microsoft pay royalties to Google far in excess of market rates, that refuses to license all the Microsoft patents infringed by Motorola, and that is promptly leaked to the press," a Microsoft spokesperson said at the time.

An alternative would be for Motorola to altogether rid its handsets and tablets of the meeting-scheduling mechanism in question.

Among other devices, Motorola’s Droid 2, Droid X, and Xoom tablet are affected by the ruling.

Meanwhile, a Düsseldorf court has granted Motorola a victory over Apple, dismissing the latter’s request for a ban on the grounds that the Xoom infringes on the iPad’s design patents.

Google, Motorola, Apple, Microsoft, and other tech giants have been embroiled in years-long patent battles around the globe. Google’s $12.5 billion (£8 billion) acquisition of Motorola earlier this year is largely thought to have been an effort on the part of the company to grow its patent portfolio.