Motorola Infringed on One Microsoft Patent

If you have been following the patent wars in the mobile industry closely, you must know that Microsoft now has a patent licensing deal with almost all major Android manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, ViewSonic, Acer, Onkyo, Wistron, Quanta and some I didn’t even know existed until they signed the deal with Microsoft.

However, Motorola is one of the few Android device manufacturers which hasn’t yet succumbed to Microsoft’s charms (or assault, depending on how you look at it), and is fighting Microsoft in the courts. That may have something to do with it being acquired by Google, by the way.

Anyway, we have some updates on the patent battle between Microsoft and Motorola. Microsoft had filed a lawsuit alleging that Motorola infringed on 9 patents it owned. Today, the International Trade Commission issued an initial ruling that stated that some Motorola products infringe on one Microsoft patent, but not on 6 other patents originally mentioned in the lawsuit.

Not surprisingly, both Microsoft and Motorola are claiming the ruling as a victory for themselves.

We are pleased with the ITC’s initial determination finding Motorola violated four claims of a Microsoft patent. As Samsung, HTC, Acer and other companies have recognized, respecting others’ intellectual property through licensing is the right path forward,stated Microsoft Deputy General Counsel David Howard.

We view it as a huge win for us. They had, originally, nine patents in their first case. They are down to one patent, effectively.said Motorola General Counsel Scott Offer.

While the battle is far from over, the long-drawn patent battles, which seemed interesting initially, are getting now getting very irritating and forcing device manufacturers to focus on fighting lawsuits instead of making new innovative products. The patent system seriously needs to be rebuilt from the grounds up.

In the meanwhile, Microsoft may add another cash cow – Motorola – to its herd, which it will probably keep milking for cash in the form of a patent licensing fee. Google’s plan to acquire Motorola for its patent portfolio may have backfired.

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