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Ruling could "gimp" Motorola's Android calendar application

Motorola Mobility -- a new subsidiary of Google Inc. (GOOG), pending some final approvals in certain regions (e.g. the European Union) -- is one of the few Android phonemakers to stand up and fight against Microsoft's licensing demands.  Google has waged a highly public battle against Microsoft's patent licensing demands, which could force it to pay $15 or more per device.

The first phase of Motorola/Google's battle with Microsoft has wrapped up with a very small victory for Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).

The administrative law judge (ALJ) presiding over the case at the U.S. International Trade Commission dismissed six of Microsoft's seven infringement claims.  The sole claim confirmed comes in the form of U.S. Patent 6,370,566, which claims the invention of "the ability to schedule a meeting request from the mobile device itself".  The patent goes on to describe a special data field that identifies whether a request has already been transmitted.  Rebroadcast events change this flag, allowing duplicates to be quickly filtered out and ignored.

Android meetings
The infringing feature in Android... [Image Source: Microsoft via Engadget]

(Read here for a full description of the patents Microsoft used in the case, with informative pictures showing where some of them pop up in Android features.)

Now for phonemakers like HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930), who already license from Microsoft [1][2], this ruling does not significantly effect them.  But for for Google and Motorola the situation gets interesting as they must figure out a way to preserve meeting scheduling -- a critical smartphone functionality -- whilst escaping infringment of the Microsoft IP.

In other words, the situation could be far worse for Motorola, but the ruling could still be  a blow to the quality of Motorola's Android distribution, forcing it to either license or remove a key feature.

Microsoft's General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Brad Smith first broke the news of Microsoft's victory on Twitter, writing:

ITC finds Motorola #patent infringment in #Microsoft case. Another indication that licensing is the best path for the industry.

Motorola/Google and Microsoft will meet again in court on April 20, 2012 when a full ITC panel will deliver its final determination on the infringement claims. Motorola/ Google currently have a counter-complaint filed against Microsoft.  Writes Motorola in a press release:

Microsoft continues to infringe Motorola Mobility’s substantial patent portfolio and Motorola Mobility has active patent infringement litigation and proceedings against Microsoft in a number of jurisdictions, including the ITC. Motorola Mobility remains confident in its position and will continue to move forward with its complaints.

Reportedly, Microsoft now makes more money off of licensing its patents to Android phonemakers than it does selling operating system licenses for its own Windows Phone smartphones.

Sources: Brad Smith (Twitter), Motorola, Google Patents



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Title wrong or story missing?
By CZroe on 12/22/2011 9:55:21 AM , Rating: 3
"ITC Tells Motorola it Infringed on Microsoft Patent, Motorola Cheers Decision"
Shouldn't that last part be "Microsoft Cheers Decision?" I thought it was a hook, got hooked, and read the whole article looking for an explanation of why Moto was happy to lose. I didn't find one and now I see that no other commenters bothered to read the title?




RE: Title wrong or story missing?
By sprockkets on 12/22/2011 10:16:05 AM , Rating: 2
Motorola was found not infringing on 6/7 patents, not a 100% victory but I'd be happy. I mean, seriously, how many times do you schedule a meeting on your phone via the calendar? Just send a damn email to your recipients and put it in the calendar manually.

If they infringed on say a CPU patent or some other stupid overly broad patent android would be screwed.


"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone














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