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German judge awards Microsoft injunction against Android-based Motorola devices

A German judge has found that Motorola's Android-based devices infringe on a Microsoft-held File Allocation Table (FAT) patent.

Judge Andreas Voss ruled that Motorola gadgets infringe on Microsoft's patent for a "common name space for long and short filenames." Microsoft was awarded an injunction against the infringing products, but it must put up a 10 million euro (£7.8 million) bond for the ban to go into effect; if Motorola prevails during the appeals process, it will be awarded that money for losses incurred during the injunction.

According to patent blogger Florian Mueller, Microsoft also won a recall of infringing products from retail and undetermined damages.

A Motorola spokeswoman said the company is "in process of reviewing the ruling, and will explore all of our options including appeal. We don't anticipate an impact on our operations at this time."

David Howard, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft, said "today's decision, which follows similar rulings in the U.S. and Germany, is further proof that Motorola Mobility is broadly infringing Microsoft's intellectual property."

"We will continue to enforce injunctions against Motorola Mobility products in those countries and hope they will join other Android device makers by taking a license to Microsoft's patented inventions," Howard continued.

As Mueller pointed out, this is Microsoft's third win in its patent fight against Motorola. "On a worldwide basis, ten Apple and Microsoft software patents have now been deemed valid and infringed by Android-based devices," he wrote.

Most recently, a ban on Motorola devices in the US was scheduled to go into effect last week, but the Google-owned company said it has come up with a workaround to address the patent violation that prompted the ban. That came after the International Trade Commission (ITC) in May ordered an import ban on Android-based Motorola devices that infringe on a Microsoft-held patent.

Last month, Motorola proposed a settlement that would end its patent dispute with Microsoft, but the Redmond-based company was not ready to sign on the dotted line. Motorola Mobility offered to pay 33 cents (20p) for every Motorola phone that uses Microsoft ActiveSync. In exchange, Microsoft would pay 50 cents (30p) for Windows-based devices that use Motorola-owned technology.

"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," Microsoft said at the time.

Microsoft has been busy signing patent licensing deals with a number of tech companies, but has not been able to work something out with Motorola.

In June, there were reports that the Federal Trade Commission was investigating Google over patent abuse charges against Motorola Mobility. Earlier this year, the European Commission opened a patent abuse investigation into Motorola, after fielding complaints from Microsoft and Apple.