Washington Federal Judge Denies Germany's Right to Ban Windows
April 12, 2012 4:08 PM
Even if Germans side with Motorola enforcement using FRAND patent is illegal opines judge
Faced with licensing demands from Microsoft Corp. (
) ($10-$15 per handset) and the
threat of a ban
from rival gadgetmaker Apple, Inc. (
), Motorola Mobility has been pushing forward with its
of using its standards-heavy patent portfolio
. That approach currently has it
under antitrust investigation
in the European Union, but has not dissuaded Motorola from pursuing enforcement.
Motorola, a top Android phonemaker, continues to operate independently -- for now -- after Chinese regulators
held up the approval
of the company's
acqusition by Google
). China appears to be using the delay as a means of bargaining with the search engine provider who has
opposed its censorship demands
. That means that for now Motorola Mobility is forging its own way in court.
I. Judge Appears Skeptical of Motorola's FRAND Enforcement
controversial lawsuits against Microsoft
, which span several international courts, hit an unusual snag when the
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
ruled in a special hearing that Motorola could not enforce a FRAND-based ban on Microsoft in Germany.
Microsoft has complained that Motorola is asking for thousands of times the typical "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) rate (which typically is around 2 cents per device). The patent in question is a Motorola patent on h.264 -- a commonly used video encoding standard.
A Washington federal court has forbidden Motorola from banning Windows sales in Germany until a U.S. case advances.
[Image Source: All About Samsung]
The restraining order, put in place by presiding judge
Judge James Robart
, may be enforceable as Motorola Mobility is a U.S.-based firm. However, it is unusual in that it is a case where a U.S. federal court is moving to essentially strip a top trade partner of its judicial authority in the short term.
In addition to the pending German case, Motorola and Microsoft are duking it out in a corresponding U.S. case that is currently being heard by Judge Robart. Until a May 7 hearing in the U.S. case, Judge Robart says that any attempts to enforce a ban on Windows sales in Germany (via preliminary injunction) would be illegal. He's forcing Motorola to post a $100M USD bond in the interest of compliance.
While the U.S. case has not been ruled on, the decision indicates the presiding Judge is skeptical of the validity of Motorola's FRAND based litigation.
II. What the Ban Might Have Meant to Motorola
Some believed Motorola might pull off a product ban in the Germany ruling, which was set to land on April 17. Germany's legal system works a bit differently in that patent validity is run in a separate track, meaning that in most cases -- even where there's a strong possibility that a patent is bad or being unfairly enforced -- the German court still enforces a ban on the alleged infringed product for the duration of the trial. Apple has achieved
similar bans of Motorola
Comp., Ltd. (
) Android devices in Germany.
Microsoft said the temporary ban on the injunction was necessary, writing in its motion for a restraining order, "If Motorola's sharp tactics are allowed to unfold, Microsoft will be denied a meaningful remedy in this action. Microsoft seeks a preliminary injunction here to preserve the status quo, to preserve this Court's ability to grant Microsoft meaningful relief, and to prevent irreparable harm to Microsoft and the public in the meantime."
Motorola and Microsoft are fighting over 100 patents, but the German case focused on only two, involving the h.264 codec. [Image Source: Joker Blog]
Jess Jenner, a lawyer with Ropes and Gray -- the firm representing Motorola in the U.S. case -- argued that a ban would be acceptable given that Motorola could repay Microsoft if the U.S. court later ruled it to be unfair. And she said the restraining order would be the equivalent of meddling in foreign justice, stating, "You are being asked to interfere with a German court. It's an intolerable intrusion on another country's prerogative."
Judge Robart didn't buy that line of logic.
Microsoft claims that the German lawsuit -- which only involves 2 patents out of the 100 being disputed in the U.S. -- is a mere maneuver to gain leverage by Motorola, exploiting Germany's controversial ban-friendly IP enforcement. As even a temporary ban on Windows sales in the large EU nation would be a financial blow to Microsoft, Motorola could use a ban to try to force a more favorable settlement in the U.S.
A jury trial is scheduled for November in the U.S., if the companies cannot settle their differences before then.
"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
EU Kicks Motorola While It's Down, Opens Official Antitrust Proceedings
April 3, 2012, 9:10 AM
Judge's Ruling Upholds Apple Patent, Could Jeopardize Android's Future in the U.S.
April 2, 2012, 9:32 PM
German Court Overturns Android Victory Due to FRAND Concerns
February 27, 2012, 7:24 PM
Motorola Demanded $22.50 Per Windows Laptop, Microsoft Complains to EU
February 23, 2012, 4:30 PM
German Judge Bans Androids for Swipe-Unlocking, Despite Prior Art
February 16, 2012, 7:11 PM
Microsoft releases details of Project Scorpio console
April 7, 2017, 7:50 AM
More Security Issues for Yahoo
February 16, 2017, 7:45 AM
Android Instant Tethering Only Works for Pixel and Nexus Handsets
February 13, 2017, 7:30 AM
WhatsUp with WhatsApp?
August 29, 2016, 5:23 AM
Fuchsia – Google’s New Open Source Operating System
August 17, 2016, 6:30 AM
Windows 10: End of an Era & A New Beginning
August 1, 2016, 9:59 AM
Most Popular Articles
Surface Pro 5 Rumors - New Release Date and Price
April 22, 2017, 6:45 AM
SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 580 8GD5 – Great Value for the Money
April 20, 2017, 7:47 AM
Apple Watch NikeLab Limited Edition unveiled.
April 22, 2017, 6:20 AM
Dell Inspiron 17 7000 – A Premium Laptop featuring 7th Gen Intel Core i7 in a 2-in-1 Frame.
April 19, 2017, 7:45 AM
Meet the Smartphone with four cameras - Alcatel Flashphone
April 5, 2017, 11:20 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Google Co-Founder, Sergey Brin has an Airship
Apr 26, 2017, 6:43 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus – Lots of Glass that Breaks Easily
Apr 25, 2017, 7:20 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8 – Warning for Pet Owners
Apr 24, 2017, 5:59 AM
Sound Bars and the Costs?
Apr 23, 2017, 6:30 AM
Link your Brain to Your Computer – In Four Years…Maybe
Apr 22, 2017, 7:03 AM
Google Home can now identify users by their voice.
Apr 21, 2017, 7:15 AM
Amazon Lex – Now Available for Developers.
Apr 20, 2017, 6:58 AM
You can now use Instagram offline on your Android Smartphone
Apr 19, 2017, 8:00 AM
Now you can livestream to YouTube from your mobile device.
Apr 18, 2017, 8:05 AM
Google Home – Is It a Spy Device?
Apr 17, 2017, 7:30 AM
Apple added to self –driving test permit list
Apr 15, 2017, 6:21 AM
Project Scorpio – Coming on June 11
Apr 14, 2017, 6:20 AM
Looks Like Samsung Has Been Forgiven.
Apr 13, 2017, 6:50 AM
United Airlines - Blasted on China’s Social Network and the Stock Market
Apr 12, 2017, 6:50 AM
Amazon's Third-Party Sellers Hacked
Apr 11, 2017, 6:25 AM
Microsoft Surface Pro5 Details Revealed
Apr 9, 2017, 6:41 AM
Own An Android Phone? Then you could be hacked over Wi-FI
Apr 7, 2017, 6:47 AM
Apple confirms iOS 10.3 bug and its effect on iCloud Services
Apr 6, 2017, 6:30 AM
Apple Rolls Out New Version of Apple Music
Apr 5, 2017, 10:35 AM
Apple in the News
Apr 4, 2017, 9:03 AM
Apple iPhones Will Soon Feature Graphics Chips Designed BY Apple
Apr 3, 2017, 6:23 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information