Motorola Facing Import Blocking on Android Handsets
posted Sunday May 20, 2012 by Scott Ertz
As the patent wars rage on, the International casualties are rising, but home soil casualties have started to rise as well. The most recent is, once again, a Microsoft win over an Android manufacturer, this time one internal to Google: Motorola. The International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled that Motorola has infringed on Microsoft patents in its modern Android phones and, in 60 days time, will be barred from importing those devices into the United States.
Motorola has 3 ways to avoid this block. First, they could eliminate their syncing system, which is the software that infringes on Microsoft's patents. Seeing as people want the ability to sync their phones with their computers, that seems unlikely. They could license the patent rights from Microsoft, but being as Google believes they should be allowed to use anything, anytime, that seems just as unlikely. So, at this point, their only hope is that President Obama will overturn the ruling. Seeing as he has not done it for anyone yet, they have a tough job ahead of them.
For an insight into Motorola and Microsoft's feelings on the ruling, hit the break.
David Howard, Microsoft counsel, said,
Microsoft sued Motorola in the ITC only after Motorola chose to refuse Microsoft's efforts to renew a patent license for well over a year. We're pleased the full Commission agreed that Motorola has infringed Microsoft's intellectual property, and we hope that now Motorola will be willing to join the vast majority of Android device makers selling phones in the US by taking a license to our patents.
Not surprisingly, Motorola doesn't agree. A Motorola statement said,
Microsoft started its ITC investigation asserting 9 patents against Motorola Mobility. Although we are disappointed by the Commission's ruling that certain Motorola Mobility products violated one patent, we look forward to reading the full opinion to understand its reasoning. Motorola Mobility will not experience any impact in the near term, as the Commission's ruling is subject to a $0.33/per unit bond during the 60 day Presidential review period. We will explore all options including appeal.
The ITC does not like to look like they made a mistake, and with a full-commission decision, it doesn't seem like they will go back on this. Motorola will pay the fine for 60 days and then, either license the technology from Microsoft or give up on the US. I think we all know which side they will go for.