Appeals court decision came in favor of Microsoft in a patent dispute with Google

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On Thursday, a federal appeals court decision came in favor of Microsoft in a patent dispute with Google over Motorola patents originally filed in 2010.

San Francisco’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals discovered that a lower judge had acted appropriately when he took it upon himself to figure it out what would be a fair price to use standard essential Motorola patents for Microsoft.

The dispute began when a letter was sent to Microsoft by Motorola, asking the company to pay $4 billion per year to license patents related to the 802.11 standard that underpins WiFi and the H.264 video encoding standard.

Why an appeals court decision came in favor of Microsoft?

The search engine giant acquired the Motorola patents as part of its acquisition of Motorola. The dispute between Google and Microsoft heated up when Google later sold Motorola to Lenovo.

The lower court’s decision was an unexpected move by the judge to set the parameters for licensing negotiations. But after an appeals court decision came in favor of Microsoft, that decision has been upheld.

The appeals court has also upheld a jury’s decision to award $14.5 million to Microsoft in a related trial. “Motorola took issue with that decision in part because Microsoft was able to introduce the lower court’s calculated patent licensing rate to the jury. Motorola argued that introducing the rate led the jury to rule in favor of Microsoft.”

This case drew interest from various tech companies, Intel and Apple also filed briefs in support of Microsoft, whereas Nokia and Qualcomm sided with Motorola. The appeals court decision came in favor of Microsoft may affect future cases around patents licensed under similar terms.

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