ITC Tells Motorola it Infringed on Microsoft Patent, Motorola Cheers Decision
December 21, 2011 4:52 PM
comment(s) - last by
Ruling could "gimp" Motorola's Android calendar application
Motorola Mobility -- a
of Google Inc. (
), 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. (
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.
The infringing feature in Android... [Image Source: Microsoft via Engadget]
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. (
) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
), who already license from Microsoft [
], 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,
first broke the news of Microsoft's victory on Twitter,
ITC finds Motorola
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.
Brad Smith (Twitter)
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
12/25/2011 1:45:44 PM
By your logic then specific implementations should be patentable and I agree. The problem with software patents is that general methods or ideas - the end result - are too easily patentable, not specific implementations or what you call a 'working system'.
We could see real improvements if specific implementations were the only thing patentable. That would create incentives to optimize code and 'build a beter mouse trap' rather than the current system where software patents are ideas not specific implementations.
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