US Judge Favours Microsoft Over Motorola In Patent Battle

A Seattle court judge has found in favour of Microsoft, granting a temporary restraining order in a patent dispute with mobile giant Motorola.

This particular corner of the global patent wars saw Microsoft last week announcing plans to shift its German-based European distribution centre to the Netherlands, as the company feared a German court decision might mean an injunction on the sale of products such as the Xbox and Windows 7.

Motorola has taken Microsoft to court in Germany over the infringement of video related patents - but was seeking the injunction as a pre-emptive strike to any decision on the case.

However, the Seattle judge's decision means that Motorola can't obtain an injunction immediately, and must instead wait longer than the German hearing date of the 17th of April. A block on Microsoft's sales will now only happen when the patent issue is fully settled, and then obviously only if the court finds in Motorola's favour.

Microsoft complained back in February that Motorola was exploiting its key patents, and charging excessively for them, failing to make so-called standard essential patents available on fair and reasonable (FRAND) terms.

In a statement, Microsoft deputy general counsel David Howard said: "Motorola promised to make its patents available to Microsoft and other companies on fair and reasonable terms. Today's ruling means Motorola can't prevent Microsoft from selling products until the court decides whether Motorola has lived up to its promise."

All eyes will be on the German court hearing next Tuesday, to see where we go from here.

Source: Reuters