As part of an ongoing legal dispute, Judge James Robart has ruled that Motorola will not be able to seek an injunction against certain Microsoft products based on the Google-owned company’s standards-based patents. The decision comes as a major blow to the strength of Moto’s patent portfolio, but all is not completely lost.
Judge Robart’s order doesn’t completely dismiss Motorola’s patents, and the company should still be able to collect licensing fees from Microsoft. How much that will amount to was the subject of a two-week bench trial in which Motorola and Google have sought up to $4 billion in fees per year.
The sticking point for Judge Robart was Motorola’s use of the H.264 standard as part of their patent. It is Robart’s belief that standards-based patents should come with certain limits, one being the use of RAND (Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) pricing when seeking damages and fees. The RAND restrictions combined with Robart’s finding that Microsoft caused no irreparable harm inevitably means a smaller payday for Motorola.
But the ruling could stretch beyond the Seattle courtroom where a final decision on such a payday is being mulled. Given the limited number of cases dealing with standards-based patents and the growing number of infringement claims, judges around the world could look to Robart’s decision for guidance when ruling on similar matters. The outcome certainly does’t look favorable for Google and company.