A federal jury recently ruled that Motorola must pay Microsoft a sum of $14.6 million in damages, finding hat Google-owned smartphone maker breached its obligation to license standards-essential technology in a fair and non-discriminatory fashion. The closed-door ruling was made in Seattle, finding Microsoft would effectively get a free license to use Motorola’s portfolio of video and wireless standards-essential, with the handset maker required to pay $14.5 million in damages. Commenting on the ruling, patent law expert Florian Mueller called the verdict one “that makes Google (Motorola) a convicted patent troll.”
As the holder of a number of standards-essential patents, Motorola is required to license those patents to willing parties in a “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) manner. FRAND issues were also at the center of a case between Apple and Motorola. The case decided in Apple’s favor saw Motorola seeking to collect a 2.25% royalty from Apple over any iOS devices using certain industry standard wireless technologies.
In the recently decided case, Motorola had asked Microsoft for a 2.25% royalty on the sale of each Xbox and certain Windows installations. Microsoft had said such a payment would amount to $4 billion per year and countered with an offer of $1.2 million per year. Initially, the U.S. district court judge decided on the case, setting a rate of $1.8 million per year paid from Microsoft to Motorola. The recent decision reverses the previous ruling, with Motorola now required to pay damages to Microsoft.
Microsoft had originally been seeking about $29 million in damages from Motorola with $23 million of that coming from Microsoft having to relocate a distribution center in Europe after Motorola won an injunction involving some of the patents. Speaking on the case, Microsoft told The Inquirer that the win was great for the company, going on to slam Google for “continuing abuse patents.” According to a Microsoft spokesperson:
This is a landmark win for all who want products that are more affordable and work well together. The jury's verdict is the latest in a growing list of decisions by regulators and courts telling Google to stop abusing patents.
We’ll have to see how things turn out.
Source: FOSS Patents via AppleInsider