Microsoft Sues Motorola Over Xbox Technologies

The software maker claims Motorola is charging unreasonable fees for wireless and video systems licences.

Microsoft on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Motorola, claiming the smartphone manufacturer is charging inflated royalties fees for technology that Microsoft uses in its Xbox 360 video game console.

In court papers filed in U.S. District Court for Western Washington, Microsoft alleges that the fees Motorola is charging are "unlawful" and a violation of Motorola's pledge to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the International Telecommunications Union to impose only "reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions" on its licensees.

The technologies in question relate to systems that support WLAN networking and H.264 video coding.

"Microsoft invested substantial resources in developing and marketing products in compliance with these standards, relying on the assurance of participating patent holders—including Motorola—that any patents asserted to be 'essential' by such patent holders would be available for licensing" on reasonable terms, Microsoft says.

"Motorola is demanding royalty payments that are wholly disproportionate to the royalty rate that its patents should command under any reasonable calculus," Microsoft claims.

"Microsoft has been harmed as a result of its reasonable reliance on Motorola's promises and is threatened by the imminent loss of profits, loss of customers and potential customers, and loss of goodwill and product image," Microsoft alleges.

The complaint does not specify how much Motorola is charging Microsoft to use the technologies. Motorola has yet to formally respond to the allegations. Microsoft is seeking unspecified monetary damages and is also asking the court to declare that the fees Motorola is charging are unreasonable.

It's the second lawsuit in as many months that Microsoft has filed against Motorola. In October, the software maker sued Motorola for allegedly violating Microsoft patents in some of its handsets powered by Google Android.

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