Google failed to stop Microsoft from selling its wares in Germany after an appeals court in the United States ruled on Friday that Google’s Motorola Mobility unit does not have authority to do so. The move is another hit against Google’s leverage in the current brutal smartphone patent wars.
The said injunction aimed to stop Microsoft from “offering, marketing, using or importing or possessing” in the country. Microsoft sells its gaming console, the Xbox 360, and Windows software in Germany.
The decision of the appeals court against the German injunction was handed by the 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
Microsoft was obviously pleased with the result while Google declined to comment at this time.
An expert and professor at Santa Clara Law School residing in the Silicon Valley said that the court ruling would help Microsoft to counteract a favorable dynamic for Google in Germany.
“To some extent Germany has a reputation as place you can go and get an injunction relatively easy,” he said.
Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console is the industry leader in the United States. A new gaming console is slated for release in 2013.
Microsoft defended its claim that Motorola’s patent is considered industry standard and that Motorola charges way too much in royalties for use. Google acquired Motorola for $12.5 billion this year.
The case between Microsoft and Motorola started in 2010, and then the latter sued Microsoft in Germany. Microsoft announced earlier in the year to move its European distribution center from Germany to the Netherlands before a possible injunction was finalized.
A U.S. District Judge James Robart from Seattle ruled to put a Mannheim court injunction on hold following Microsoft’s request early this year. Robart decided that the ruling would remain in effect until he could review if Motorola can indeed enforce a sales ban based on its standard essential patents involved in the case.
A 3-judge 9th Circuit court ruled on Friday that Robart’s order should be upheld. 9th Circuit’s basis was the fact that Microsoft had filed a lawsuit against Motorola for breaching their contract in the U.S., rendering German court’s order to ban sales on hold.
Regulators in Europe are investigating the allegation that Motorola overcharged Apple Inc and Microsoft for using its patents in their products, breaching antitrust rules.