A ruling declared today in a Mannheim court has granted Motorola Mobility, the phone company that is currently in the process of being acquired by Google, an injunction against the distribution of many key Microsoft products in Germany, including the Xbox 360, Windows 7 OS discs, Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer programs. The court was convinced by Motorola Mobility that Microsoft had infringed upon two patents concerning the H.264 video coding and playback. The ruling is said to not come into effect until Microsoft’s appeal process is completed.
A statement from Motorola claims:
“We are pleased that the Mannheim Court found that Microsoft products infringe Motorola Mobility’s intellectual property. As a path forward, we remain open to resolving this matter. Fair compensation is all that we have been seeking for our intellectual property.”
A spokesperson for Microsoft recently spoke to the BBC, claiming:
“This is one step in a long process, and we are confident that Motorola will eventually be held to its promise to make its standard essential patents available on fair and reasonable terms for the benefit of consumers who enjoy video on the web.
“Motorola is prohibited from acting on today’s decision, and our business in Germany will continue as usual while we appeal this decision and pursue the fundamental issue of Motorola’s broken promise.”
Last week, a U.S. judge ruled that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console had infringed upon several of Motorola Mobility’s patents, and a full commission board is scheduled to review the decision before issuing a final ruling in August. Microsoft estimates that meeting all the demands would cost the company $4 billion each year.
Analysis: It’s important to note that this ruling won’t be enforced until all of Microsoft’s appeals have been concluded as well as the U.S. ruling. In my opinion, I think it’s highly likely that Microsoft will win the appeal. It reads to me that Motorola Mobility will be seen as abusing the Fran licensing on the standards benefits and simply won’t win.
But if Motorola does succeed in their endeavor, it would be a massive blow against Microsoft and an unwarranted one, seeing how this is all over a video codec. Maybe it’s just me, but a lot more patent lawsuits have been happening over the recent years in the gaming industry. While I understand a company wanting to protect their patents, and Motorola does have some valid points in this particular case, it seems pretty excessive and petty. Hopefully this is a trend that will come to an end sooner rather than later.