The battle between Microsoft and Motorola has been on going for some time now and while it is consider as being a “testbed” for lawsuits against other manufactures that use the Google Android platform, the International Trade Commission recently handed Microsoft a victory during the preliminary hearing.
This patent infringement case has spanned over several U.S. Federal courts already. Back in October, Microsoft filed a suit against Motorola alleging that Motorola’s Android smart phones violated dozens of Microsoft’ patents. The following month Motorola counter sued Microsoft and the case has continued to grow since then and now includes close to thirty five patents.
According to Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, using the Android operating system, which according to the company infringes on some of their patents, has the risk of incurring legal fees for companies and also damages awards.
During a ruling back in April, an ITC Judge stated most of Microsoft’s asserted patents could be applied more broadly to technologies than Motorola had argued for. Since this was not done it gives Microsoft more of an edge as the case continues forward.
Patent litigation expert, Florian Mueller, wrote about the recent development on his blog, Foss Patents:
Eight months into the process (which is roughly half the time required by the ITC to take a final decision on a possible import ban), things don’t look too good for Motorola — nor for the Android ecosystem at large, as other Android device makers would face the same or greater challenges if they had to defend themselves against Microsoft.
Microsoft’s asserted patents and the related infringement allegations appear rather strong – in fact, much more solid than the claims made by Apple and Nokia in their ITC battles against each other.
Small victories like this are very important for Microsoft at the moment, especially if they end up going after other Android device manufactures. Even though Microsoft is not the only company out for blood when it comes to Google Android, they do sure have some potential to do damage.
Back in April, HTC signed an agreement with Microsoft concerning Android devices, which will be setting the scene for more legal battles in the future. However, over the weekend an analyst estimated that since the signing of the agreement, Microsoft is making roughly $5 off of ever Android device HTC sells.
This is not the first lawsuit that has taken place when it comes to Microsoft. After filing their lawsuit on Motorola, they then filed a lawsuit against Barnes and Noble over their Android Nook e-Reader. In a response to this latest lawsuit filed in April, Barnes and Noble said:
“Microsoft is misusing these patents as part of a scheme to try to eliminate or marginalize the competition to its own Windows Phone 7 mobile device operating system posed by the open source Android operating system and other open source operating systems.”
Right now these lawsuits are ongoing and still attempting to make it through the hoop in hopes of a final decision being made. We will continue to follow these and report on any news that may come about.