Motorola Android devices banned in Germany after losing patent case against Microsoft


Yet another day, yet another bit of patent-related lawsuit news. And, unfortunately, this time an Android OEM is on the wrong side of the judgement. A Mannheim court has ruled that Motorola infringes on Microsoft’s patents on FAT technology. The court has granted Microsoft’s request for a ban on all relevant devices, as long as they pay a 10 million Euro bond (peanuts for the company, unfortunately).

Motorola will be required to pay damages which haven’t been determined as yet. Microsoft, as expected, are gloating in the wake of the recovery. They had already won an injunction request in late May, and believe this bolsters their position.

“We already have an injunction against Motorola products in Germany as a result of a ruling on May 24, and today’s ruling serves to strengthen this injunction. In the long term, if Motorola wishes to sell products on the German market, it must either take a license or stop using the technology covered by our patents including the ones at issue in this week’s decisions.”

-David Howard, Microsoft Deputy General Counsel and Corporate VP

There’s really not much to say in this. I can’t pretend that the justice system around the world is going to change for the better. There have been some signs for the better, but nothing’s going to change until there’s a complete revamp of the system. Until then, there’s really no point expecting Microsoft to have a change of heart and decide to compete on quality. They know they can’t, and they know that the only thing in their interest is to either make a ton of money from licenses, or put such a high price on manufacturing Android handsets that OEMs decide not to.

[via Talk Android]

Raveesh Bhalla

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  1. File system FAT is so then good Moto deserves to get banned. There’s EXT3 and EXT4 I don’t understand why they don’t use that if that’s what this is about.

    1. FAT is hardly used by MS itself, it’s present only for backward-compatibility. Here’s the problem with software patents yet again: the 20-year period that they’re granted for is just far too long. Also, I’m pretty sure the people at Motorola are qualified enough to know of the existence of EXT3 and EXT4.

      1. They must not cause EXT has its down fails but blows away FAT and Linux plays real nice with EXT so its Moto’s fault. 20 years or not fact there are many other file systems they can use.

        1. It’s the micro sd card that uses FAT and windows computers can’t read cards formatted in ext

  2. this article is crazy…. sounds like if the ruling was reversed it would be ok? thats a fanboy type article. They could ask for a fair license or go the apple rout and not, also i never read anything on this site about how google and android oems sue over standard patents. If you write an article, try to have some integrity.

    1. Google has never used their patent’s aggressively, and most Android OEMs have also filed lawsuits only when they have been attacked. If you’re going to question my integrity and my writing, at least keep such a commonly known fact in mind.

      1. Is this a joke? “Aggressive” ha. Android is infringing which is why they do not sue… but counter sue. More than 70% Android partners are licensing from MS under various terms. Also H.264 patents are frand patents. Using them aggresively and asking for exorbitant fees is highly immoral and unethical.

        1. Yet again, OEMs accounting for roughly 55% of Android sales are licensing patents from MS. Is that even supposed to prove anything, btw? And Motorola never used the H.264 patent aggressively. Microsoft sued them on the grounds that they were asking for too much money for an “industry standard” technology, which they claimed should be covered by FRAND. Moto countersued them, and won.

          I love debates based on facts, as long as they’re not made up.

          Microsoft made the decision to get into the battle, nobody forced them into it. Motorola, on the other hand, was willing to provide a sum to Microsoft per handset taking all patent disputes into account (including ActiveSync, which they infringe). MS decided they wanted more.

          EDIT: I previously mentioned the H.264 patent in question isn’t covered by FRAND. I checked a few sources and I’m still uncertain of it, and have hence removed the mention.

  3. what you got to remember is that motorola have issued lawsuits against ms with the use of an h.264 patent which is used almost everywhere, so its not exactly one sided is it?

    1. which, again, happened to be a countersuit.

  4. This is a reason why many devices don’t have external sd memory.

  5. couldn’t motorola get on a diet before it went to court that way it could have shed some of that FAT Microsoft have?

  6. It`s up to the people, who`s decide to let the patent war to keep on or to stop. Just stop buying their products and they`ll stop the uing each other But as log people buying the phones, the war keep going. I don`t believe for one second, the phone we buy it now, can be good next 24 months to come! BUt we`re spoiled. They`re both side making money and we`re the one who`s paying for all that.

    1. If people stopped buying for example Apple products, apple would sue even more. Same goes for everybody else. If they cannot make money of their products they will have to sue and get money from other companies using their technology. The cure for patent wars would be to change the patent system. Most patents should not be limited to one company.

      1. I agree with you, but this to much.

      2. Patents should be relative to the value they give to the company and the warranty the company is willing to give for it. 10 year patent? Sure, that’ll be a 5 year warranty on any equipment you intend to attach to it.

  7. Very poor article. MS is known to create licensing agreements with people and not sue them for their patents. If Motorola thinks they can use a patented technology for free they are wrong. Also, however poor the US patent system would be – it is same for all – so had Google and Motorola really had any worthwhile technology to sue over; they would have. Everyone is here for the money – no one is a saint !!! The author seems to defend ‘counter-suites’ which really does not make the crime less.

  8. I just don’t see the point. Banning Motorola still isn’t going to generate any windows phone sales.

    1. You don’t get what they did wrong then. They tried to use a filing structure that has been patented that is available for use under licence, but because they went around it, they’re liable for damages. The value attached is probably superfluous to the reality that their intellectual property, regardless of its dinosauric age, has not been respected.

      It’s not like Apple who are trying to shut out competition, they;re just trying to get their due.

      1. i understand that part and by all means sue for damages, but bans are pointless.

        1. I’m not siding w/ MS on this but if you read the statement they actually ARE suing for damages:

          “…if Motorola wishes to sell products on the German market, it must either take a license or stop using the technology ”

          The ban is almost necessary until Moto pays up. As you know, nothing “legal” is quick so it will probably be a few weeks at least before a value is settled and paid.

  9. How is MS in the wrong? If what Motorola did was illegal, then they have every right to sue them.

  10. from what I have read the FAT system itself is an IEEE standard (open standard) Microsoft however owns the patent on long file name (LFN) used in FAT systems. anyone and most do use FAT partitions because they are the most compatible with the most platforms Windows,MAC and Posix systems all can read a FAT partition but windows and linux can not read GPT(mac) partition easily same with EXT3 and EXT4 on window systems.

  11. Well I’m usually on Android’s side when it comes to patent battles, but it’s hard to defend them on every front. That said, Microsoft is just scratching around to get as much profit off Android as they can…the way things are going MS will soon be irrelevant if they keep placing their bets on Metro and other things that consumers just don’t want or care about. Heck, if Google came out with a real OS to compete with Windows Desktops then I would consider dumping Windows altogether.

  12. Just curious…so does this mean that if I flew into a German airport, would they confiscate my 5 month old Moto Razr MAXX at customs?

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