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Motorola phones face German sales ban over Microsoft patent

updated 07:45 pm EDT, Thu May 24, 2012

Modifications to Android needed, Motorola expected to appeal

The Munich Regional Court has found Motorola to be in violation of Microsoft's text-messaging patent involving "communicating multi-part messages between cellular devices using a standardized interface." The judgement follows an International Trade Commission-ordered import ban against Android-based Motorola devices that infringe on a different Microsoft patent for event scheduling.

"We're pleased the court agreed today that Motorola has infringed Microsoft's intellectual property, and we hope Motorola will be willing to join other Android device makers by taking a license to our patents," reported Microsoft deputy general counsel David Howard in regards to the decision.

At a minimum, modifications are needed in Android to work around this ruling, though Motorola is expected to appeal. Android apps using the violated patent may have to be completely rewritten. Some APIs provided to application developers would have to be retracted, and this functionality provided by the application itself, rather than the OS. Most Android devices sold in the United States have a license for the patent issued by Microsoft.

Earlier this month, Motorola won a pair of injunctions in Germany against Microsoft for patents involved in H.264 encoding and playback. The injunction isn't enforceable at this time because of a preliminary injunction in the Western District of Washington, and a second injunction against the Xbox 360 also isn't likely enforceable from the same court ruling.

The sales ban involving Motorola Android phones is enforceable against a 25 million euro ($31.3 million) bond, payable by Microsoft. It remains unclear if the Google subsidiary will move to license Microsoft's patented technology, attempt to work around the ban, cease selling the offending products in Germany, or continue to fight the legal battle through an appeal. [via Florian Mueller]

by MacNN Staff



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