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25 May 2012, 15:25

Court: Motorola infringing on Microsoft's SMS patent

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Motorola logo According to a ruling from the Munich Regional CourtGerman language link, Microsoft can now demand that Android mobile devices manufactured by Motorola Mobility are not sold in Germany. On Thursday, the court decided that Google's Android mobile operating system infringes on Microsoft's European patent 1304891, which describes a method for handling SMS messages with multiple parts on a mobile cellular network. Based on the ruling, Microsoft could now implement a sales ban with a bond of €25 million (£25 million).

In an initial statement, the company said, "We're pleased the court agreed today that Motorola has infringed Microsoft's intellectual property, and we hope Motorola will be willing to join other Android device makers by taking a license to our patents". This week, the US mobile devices specialist officially became part of Google, which develops Android.

Microsoft logo Microsoft and Motorola are also fighting over patent rights in other courts in Germany and the US, including over the use of standards-related patents belonging to Motorola. Recently, a judge for the US International Trade Commission recommended a sales ban on affected Microsoft products.

Motorola has already won a sales ban from the German Mannheim Regional Court, but is not yet allowed to implement it, following a US judge's order in another case. Microsoft claims that Motorola is not licensing its patents related to the H.264 video compression standard and WLAN in a fair manner standard to the industry, and the judge wants this issue clarified first.

The SMS patent on trial in Munich does not belong to a standard, which means that Microsoft is free to do as it wishes in terms of licensing and implementing rights. The decision gives Microsoft an edge that could make Motorola and Google return to the bargaining table. A number of other Android manufacturers, including HTC and Samsung, are already paying royalties to Microsoft for their devices as part of licensing agreements between the companies.


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