Motorola appears to have an early win with the US’ International Trade Commission against Microsoft and its Xbox 360 console. The ITC has issued a preliminary report that has said that the Xbox 360 did infringe five of Motorola’s patents.
The patents revolve around the H.264 video encoding patents owned by Motorola.
Of course, it’s a preliminary report (via The Verge), meaning that it’s not a final judgement. However, if Microsoft loses the case, it could mean Microsoft will have to license those patents under Motorola’s conditions – as opposed to the FRAND principle, which lets you have a reasonable price to license patents so that you don’t stifle innovation. In Europe, the company that holds patents essential to a standard – like 3G or 4G – must offer it under FRAND.
The ITC could also potentially have the Xbox 360 banned in the United States. It is also going through the European courts, and Microsoft took an unusual step in having a US court ruling that Motorola can’t enforce a ban in Germany.
Yes, that’s massive confusion right there.
As noted before, Motorola is also being investigated by the European Commission after Microsoft and Apple complained that Motorola was using its patents to distort competition. Obviously, they were being sued by Motorola (Apple over its iCloud push email service).
If it has breached those commitments, then Motorola could face a big fine from the European Commission.