Jury Card Shows Resounding Microsoft Win Over Motorola On Standard-Essential Patents

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Microsoft has claimed victory in its high-profile trial asserting that phone maker Motorola failed to licence its standard-essential patents under internationally recognised fair and reasonable terms. And the hand-marked jury card from the outcome in federal court in Seattle, Washington shows the unanimous decision.

On 4 September, the jury agreed 8-0 that Microsoft had proved Motorola, which is owned by Google, had not lived up to reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (known as RAND, or FRAND [adds “fair”] in Europe). Motorola’s attempt to seek injunctive relief was found to have breached its contractual commitment to standards bodies the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Microsoft was awarded a total of about US$14.5 million, but saw the case as having larger significance.

“This is a landmark win for all who want products that are affordable and work well together,” David Howard, Microsoft corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, said in a statement. “The jury’s verdict is the latest in a growing list of decisions by regulators and courts telling Google to stop abusing patents.”

According to a press report, Motorola has signalled it will appeal the decision. That Reuters report also said this is the second of two related cases, and that the two companies have been locked in a battle to ensure that handsets using Google’s free Android phone operating system pay Microsoft a licensing fee. Motorola has been the last big holdout on this.

The rate demanded by Motorola for technology used in Microsoft’s Xbox game was said to be US$4 billion per year, while the judge in the first case said the rate should about $1.8 million.

The determination of FRAND rates for licensing has been in question (IPW, Inside Views, 29 July 2013); (IPW, US Perspectives, 29 July 2013); (IPW, Inside Views, 26 August 2013).


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