The technologies in question related to the H.264 video protocol and WiFi connectivity. If Motorola was successful they would have almost everything that Microsoft produces including the Xbox, Windows devices etc. Microsoft stood on the ground that both patents are FRAN (Fair Reasonable and Non Discriminatory) patents. This means that Motorola would have to offer them to Microsoft at around that same rate that anyone else could get them for. On the other hand Motorola argued that FRAND does not mean free. They claimed that Microsoft had refused their offers and were using their FRAND patents without just compensation. The judge in the case sided with Microsoft and said that Motorola had not made a reasonable offer to Microsoft. Because of this the ban request from Motorola was denied. Additionally the $4 Billion in damages that Motorola requested was slashed to about $14 Million.
Microsoft took the opportunity to brag a little and you can tell their marketing department had a hand in the message that was given: “The jury's verdict is the latest in a growing list of decisions by regulators and courts telling Google to stop abusing patents.” The quote is funny when you consider the fact that Microsoft asks for a fee from Android makers for the use of what they claim is patented code. Microsoft gets $10-15 for every handset sold globally from manufacturers that have signed their protection agreement. Motorola was one that did not sign and countered with the suit claiming infringement on their H.264 and WiFi patents. It was an attempt to stop paying the fee or at least break even.
Microsoft’s attack on Android was also the origin of Google forcing Microsoft to remove the YouTube app and why Google dropped other Microsoft technology from their online systems. Both of these companies are battling to make money and beat the other through patent litigation instead of developing better products. For either to blame the other of patent abuse is childish in the extreme. Both are guilty of abusing the patents they own and of hurting the consumer in the long run. Then again, we have always felt the current patent system is anti-consumer for a while now. This tiff between Google and Microsoft is just another example of it.
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