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Microsoft gets Motorola’s Android phones banned in Germany

Microsoft has given Motorola, a company that was recently acquired by Google, a shock after Judge Andreas Voss of the Mannheim Regional court issued a ruling in favor of Microsoft. Under the case, Motorola was found guilty of using Microsoft FAT (file allocation table) patent, a technology developed and patented by Redmond. It was discovered that Motorola’s Android powered smartphone devices were infringing the patent. According to the court ruling, Motorola’s Droid and Atrix smartphones have been banned and taken off the shelves in Germany.

“Today’s decision, which follows similar rulings in the U.S. and Germany, is further proof that Motorola Mobility is broadly infringing Microsoft’s intellectual property,” reads a statement issued by Microsoft. “We will continue to enforce injunctions against Motorola Mobility products in those countries and hope they will join other Android device makers by taking a license to Microsoft’s patented inventions.”

Microsoft can now exploit the situation of injunction to ban Motorola’s Android devices from being sold in Germany, impose a 10 million euro bond and ask Motorola to pay an amount for damages caused to Microsoft.

The patent outlines a technology that facilitates a device to index files with long and short name indexing and instructs how files are moved between two different devices. Motorola argued that the technology should be covered under FRAND, however, the Judge said that other options were available to Motorola and hence such an argument didn’t hold good for the situation. Motorola is said to be appealing this court decision and hoping for a stay order on the injunction that has been issued in the connection. Apparently, Microsoft’s patent is due to expire in the year 2014. According to Florian Mueller, appealing for a stay on injunction would be a tough job for Motorola as the patent has survived various legal battles in the past. If Motorola does fail to get a stay on the ruling, the company will of course not stand having its devices taken off from shelves and will make some effort to settle the problem with Microsoft by paying licensing fee for the use of FAT file system, but since the patent has persisted in several cases in the history, seems like Motorola will be joining rest of the Android gang and pay the licensing fee.

Companies like Samsung, HTC and others are already paying the licensing fee to Microsoft. In order to circumvent the ruling, Motorola should either implement an all new file system, which is highly unlikely to happen as the technology is embedded into Android’s core, or alternatively agree to pay the fees.

Google, Motorola’s parent company, is known to oppose such kind of licensing agreements, however, it seems like Google isn’t left with any choice rather than license the technology and pay the fees to maker of Windows Phone, as it would be a cheaper option than facing losses due to ban on sales of its devices. What’s your opinion on this? Let us know using the comment form below.