German court rules Microsoft infringed Motorola’s patents

2 May 2012

A German court has ruled that Microsoft infringed Motorola Mobility’s patents. While the court ordered Microsoft to remove products such as Xbox 360 consoles and the Windows 7 OS from the German market, Microsoft said a ruling in the US will stop this from happening.

FOSS Patents reports that the court in Mannheim ruled Microsoft had breached an agreement with Motorola Mobility when using its video-compression technology in products such as the Xbox 360, Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer and Windows 7.

While the court ordered Microsoft should remove these products from the German market, Microsoft said this may not happen, as a court in the US gave Microsoft a preliminary injunction against Motorola Mobility to prevent it from enforcing a court order to block Microsoft’s products.

Microsoft has also moved its European distribution centre from Germany to the Netherlands to avoid disrupting its European logistics chain due to the legal situation in Germany.

Microsoft said it would appeal this decision and would continue to argue its case that Motorola Mobility broke its promise to offer its technology of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

Microsoft sued Motorola Mobility in November 2011, claiming it charged excessive royalties for its patents. Motorola Mobility then countersued, alleging Microsoft infringed 16 of its patents.

Microsoft then claimed these patents were based on common technical standards used to build products which are compatible with other technologies, such as video playback and internet connectivity. It argues Motorola Mobility and other companies made a promise to make these standards available on FRAND terms.

However, it appears this German court has ruled that Microsoft has breached its agreement with Motorola Mobility. It comes after a judge in the US International Trade Commission also said Microsoft infringed Motorola Mobility’s patents used in the Xbox 360.