U.S. Congressmen to ITC: "Step Off Microsoft"
June 13, 2012 6:46 PM
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Eight Congressmen wrote a letter to the ITC opposing the Xbox 360 ban
A group of Congressmen wrote a letter to the International Trade Commission (ITC) in opposition of an import
ban against Microsoft's Xbox 360 console
Congress members Dave Reichert, Norm Dicks, Jim McDermott, Doc Hastings, Adam Smith, Rick Larsen, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Jaime Herrera Beutler signed the letter, which urged the ITC to think twice about the Xbox 360 ban.
The letter was prompted by an ITC investigation into Motorola Mobility's patent infringement claims against Microsoft. As a result, ITC administrative law Judge David Shaw has recommended that the Xbox 360 console should be banned. The issue is the H.264 codec, which Motorola has patents associated with the video codec.
However, the above-mentioned list of Congress members along with companies like Verizon and Nokia disagree with the ban. In the letter from Congress members, it said a ban on the Xbox 360 could threaten high-paying U.S. jobs as well as economic growth, since the Xbox 360 is one of the top gaming consoles in the U.S. at the moment.
In addition, the letter noted that an exclusion order could hurt third-party investments that provide products and services for the Xbox 360 and depend on its sales. Game developers, publishers and retailers mainly fall under this category.
U.S. consumers could stand to lose as well, according to the letter to ITC Chairman Deanna Okun. Without the Xbox 360, competition in the gaming industry could be stifled and lead to an increase in prices for game consoles and titles.
"For these reasons, we urge you to consider carefully the implications a negative ruling in this matter would have on our economy, consumers, industry and jobs in Washington State and throughout the country," said the letter.
Motorola had also sought to ban the Xbox 360 and Windows 7 OS
in Germany last month
The letter to the ITC can be found
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RE: Now we know who can be bought...
6/14/2012 10:33:52 AM
Agree, but that's not the only problem. A complete ban because of use of a codec that is a minor feature of the device?
The problem here is that there is no ability to award damages in an ITC action. This is just bad law by congress. Congress needs to require that the ITC can't ban unless the plaintiff can satisfy the above four factor test.
In a normal court, the law is that the court uses a 4 factor test to determine whether to award a plaintiff a permanent injunction: (1) that it has suffered an irreparable injury; (2) that remedies available at law are inadequate to compensate for that injury; (3) that considering the balance of hardships between the plaintiff and defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted; and (4) that the public interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction. This test does not apply at the ITC.
In my opinion, Motorola fails on factors 1-3. 1 - Motorola hasn't suffered an irreparable injury since they don't compete in the game console market; 2 - money (damagers) can clearly compensate Motorola; 3 - Motorola doesn't compete in the game console market so how is there any hardship to Motorola?
Again, congress needs to change the law here to avoid these ridiculous ban orders by the ITC and force these companies to go through the regular court system where damages is an option, or at least force the ITC to apply the four factor test before banning a product.
RE: Now we know who can be bought...
6/14/2012 12:09:16 PM
Great post. I would submit that they also fail on point 4., that is the permanent injunction would not serve the public interest (as in causing economic harm, lost jobs, etc.)
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