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The Microsoft vs Motorola lawsuit finally comes to an end
The Microsoft vs Motorola lawsuit finally comes to an end
September 6, 2013 | By Mike Rose

September 6, 2013 | By Mike Rose
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    6 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



The long-running Microsoft vs Motorola Mobility lawsuit over alleged patent infringements is finally coming to an end, as a jury has ruled in favor of Microsoft, and awarded the company $15 million in damages.

A judge ruled last year that Microsoft's Xbox 360 console had infringed on four of Motorola's patents, including video decoding and wi-fi technology from the company.

However, earlier this year that decision was overturned, and the same judge cleared Microsoft of any infringement. Now a U.S. District Court jury has decided that it was in fact Motorola that breached its agreements with Microsoft.

According to the Seattle Times, the jury came to the decision that Motorola was not providing its patent licences on fair and reasonable terms, and as such, awarded Microsoft the victory and damages.

A spokesperson for Microsoft said that it was "a landmark win for all who want products that are affordable and work well together," while Motorola said it will be appealing the decision.


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Comments


Troy Walker
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that's it? almost laughable... such a pitiless amount in the scheme of things.

Jonathan Murphy
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What I despise about the next console generation? A whole new wave of patent trolls. Trolls please go away, you are destroying progress.

Merc Hoffner
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While this was certainly trolling, and trolling is certainly a real problem, this case between juggernauts (remember Motorola is a subsidiary of Google now) is a fair bit deeper than that - big players playing a big game, fought using multitudes of patents in multiple distinct portfolios in multiple jurisdictions. And they aren't operating in a vacuum, and they know it too - the various cases being heard are setting precedents over legal standards, with some of the players trying to actively shift the law one way or the other - the degree of scope, the applicability of juries in technical cases, the benefits to the marketplace, the weighting between individual corporate benefit and pooled technology groups, what is reasonable or unreasonable licensing monetisation etc etc.

The prohibitive nature of patent protection may seem restrictive in nature, and indeed it's sometimes absolutely debilitating to progress for the software industry in particular, where innovations with utterly ubiquitous utility can be implemented in minutes at little to no cost and immediately patented. And the ease of patenting combined with their scope, for those who know how breeds trolls. But in other industries the monopoly is essential to recuperate fundamental and frightening R&D costs and make any level of innovation worthwhile. Imagine how many new medicines would be made if 5 minutes after spending $500 million on a clinical trial, an innovator's cancer treatment was undercut by the competition that didn't have to drop a dime?

The patent system is terribly flawed, but it's not symmetric across all industries, calling for a complex and tuned response. As much as we wish things were fixed sooner than later, unfortunately a hasty solution would cause unpredictable devastation. In any case the corporations with the money and impetus to test and lobby on the laws are already well favored and unlikely to want to shift the balance in the direction of fairness. There are no happy answers.

Jorge Ramos
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Is this why the Xbox One and PS4 are not getting Backward Compatibility with their predecessors?

Merc Hoffner
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Not likely. These guys almost always press ahead anyway, get stays on injunctions, ignore rulings, run counter suites, then eventually reach mutual cross licensing agreements or share purchases, if they don't outright win the case. In any case if they figure they can get away with that old tech so far then there should be few legal problems to reusing that old tech.

The problem is certainly down to architecture - both 360 and PS3 used relatively esoteric and powerful CPUs - Native execution is completely impossible on x86, Xenos and Cell are both so alien, powerful, parallel and vector heavy that emulation is unfathomable, and both are still sufficiently complex that including the chips would incur a prohibitive additional expense. Sony's almost certainly building custom Cell based servers for their Gaikai solution, and they're doing it in the knowledge that there will be numerous legal challenges to the technology down the road.

Mark Nowotarski
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This is actually anti-troll behavior. Motorola was assessed damages for NOT licensing its patents to Microsoft under a fair an reasonable royalty.


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