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Judge denies Motorola request to ban Microsoft products

A Seattle court last week denied Motorola's request for an injunction against Microsoft products that the Google-owned company claim infringe on its patents.

"Because Motorola cannot show irreparable harm or that monetary damages would be inadequate, the court agrees with Microsoft that injunctive relief is improper in this matter," Judge James L. Robart wrote in his Thursday ruling.

The case dates back to 2010, when Microsoft and Motorola tried to hash out a patent licensing agreement over an 802.11 wireless local area network (WLAN) and H.264 advanced video coding patents. The patents are considered to be standards essential, meaning that most high-tech devices currently utilise the technology. Companies that own the patents, therefore, need to license them under reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms, even to rivals.

Microsoft uses the technology covered by the patents in everything from its Xbox gaming console to the Windows platform. Back in Oct. 2010, Motorola offered to license the patents to Microsoft at a rate of 2.25 per cent for each product sold. Microsoft, however, argued that the rate was unreasonable and filed suit, and the two have been at loggerheads ever since.

Motorola has pledged to license its patents on RAND terms, so the court is now working to determine a proper royalty rate to which Microsoft and Motorola must adhere. The issue was considered during a trial that ran from 13-21 November.

"The court has taken the matter under submission and will issue a written order adjudicating a RAND rate and range for Motorola's relevant patents," surmised Judge Robart.

Microsoft and Motorola declined to comment.