German court sides with Motorola in patent dispute with Microsoft, but judge tells Motorola not to ask for ban until related case in U.S. is resolved.
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Motorola Mobility won the latest round against Microsoft in an ongoing patent dispute that has spanned multiple jurisdictions across several countries.
The Mannheim Regional Court in Germany ruled Wednesday that Microsoft's Windows 7, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and Xbox products violate Motorola patents related to video compression.
The ruling gives Motorola the right to ask for ban on the importation and sale of those products in Germany, a market that is worth billions of dollars to Microsoft. However, a judge overseeing a related case in U.S. District Court in Seattle previously ordered Motorola not to seek such a ban until the U.S. case is resolved.
Microsoft said that, despite the ruling, it's business as usual in Germany. "Motorola is prohibited in acting on today's decision, and our business in Germany will continue as usual while we appeal this decision and pursue the fundamental issue of Motorola's broken promise," said a Microsoft spokesperson.
Motorola did not immediately issue a statement.
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The dispute between Microsoft and Motorola dates back to October, 2010, when Microsoft filed suit claiming Motorola's use of Google's Android operating system in its mobile devices violates its patents. Microsoft has long claimed that Android uses patented technology from Windows, and has successfully cajoled a number of other Android device makers, including HTC, Acer, and ViewSonic, to sign license agreements.
Motorola countersued Microsoft soon after in 2010, claiming Windows, Xbox, and other products violate Motorola video patents. Microsoft escalated the conflictearlier this year when it filed a complaint with European antitrust regulators, claiming Motorola charges unfairly high prices for a license to the H.264 online video standard.
Microsoft said the cost of PCs and laptops could jump considerably unless Motorola is ordered to make its technologies available on so-called fair and reasonable terms, which Microsoft claims it had pledged to do in accordance with standard industry practice.
Adding to the stakes is the fact that Microsoft archrival Google last year inked a deal to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. The agreement gives the search giant access to Motorola's trove of about 24,000 mobility-related patents.
A hearing in the Seattle case is set for May 7.
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