Today, in Microsoft v. Motorola Mobility, the federal district court judge granted Microsoft's summary judgment motion that Motorola Mobility's standard essential patents (SEP) are not entitled to injunctive relief and will be subject to FRAND. We may see a consensus that we cannot have patent hold ups on SEPs since that gives SEP owners too much negotiating leverage against competitors.
I am a little surprised at how this case evolved. Google's Motorola Mobility would not sign up under Microsoft's patent licensing program despite the vast majority of Android makers doing so. Second, after Motorola Mobility was sued it didn't think maybe it should settle. Instead it counterclaims that Microsoft XBox infringed patents essential to the H.264 (video codec) or IEEE 802.11 (WiFI, or WLAN) standards. We were talking about my Android, but let's talk about your XBox? Then Motorola insists on injunctive relief and unreasonably high royalty rates on those SEPs?
Despite this Groklaw suggests the judge's decision is based on local bias: Surprise Surprise ... Seattle Judge Grants MS Motion, Bans Injunctions for Motorola's RAND Patents
Groklaw argues the Seattle judge is in Microsoft's home court and handed out a predictable victory to Microsoft based on a sealed motion (i.e., who knows what) that is likely to be appealed. In my opinion, the judge is being unfairly impugned. Motorola lost because it pushed beyond the outer limits of remedies available for SEPs.
Also see other reviews of this decision such as Joe Mullin' In a blow to Android, judge says Moto patents can't get injunctions - Motorola can't use standard-based patents to enjoin Microsoft's Xbox and FOSS Patents' Google's Motorola loses a summary judgment decision after Microsoft FRAND trial.
Copyright © 2012 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.