Motorola Mobility has infringed on Microsoft patent, court declares

Google-owned Motorola Mobility has infringed a Microsoft patent related to SMS messaging, according to a ruling in the Munich regional court, which also dismissed a second case related to a localization patent.

As a result of the regional court judge’s ruling, Motorola Mobility must now take a license under Microsoft’s Android licensing program, stop using features invented and patented by Microsoft, or stop selling infringing products in Germany, a Microsoft spokeswoman said via email.

Microsoft has signed license agreements for Android with a number of vendors, including Samsung Electronics and HTC, but Motorola Mobility has not agreed to any such deal. Microsoft, therefore, is going after Motorola the best it can, with a number of lawsuits.

Motorola Mobility said it is pleased with the dismissal of the localization patent case, and is expecting a written decision from the court on June 1 regarding the SMS patent. Upon review, it will explore all options including an appeal, according to a statement. This patent is part of a global dispute initiated by Microsoft, it noted.

The ruling comes right after Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility was finalized on Tuesday.

When Google announced the deal to acquire Motorola Mobility last year, it said that part of the reasoning behind the move was so that it would be able to better defend Android against legal threats from vendors such as Apple and Microsoft.

That may not have been such a bad idea. Earlier this month Motorola Mobility won an injunction in Germany preventing the distribution of Microsoft products including Windows 7 and the Xbox in Germany. For now, the injunction can’t be enforced. Microsoft has appealed the verdict and there is a U.S court order that prevents Motorola from enforcing it.

The case is related to patents essential to the H.264 video codec standard.

Motorola didn’t reply to questions regarding the latest ruling in the Munich regional court.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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