microsoft motorola logo Google Drops Two ITC Patent Claims Against Microsoft

Motorola Mobility just recently dropped two of 3 patent suits against Microsoft.  The suits were over video-coding patents used in the Xbox gaming system and some smartphones.

Motorola Mobility, which is now owned by Google, filed a motion on Tuesday, January 8, 2012 with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to end two patent infringement complaints against Microsoft Corporation.  The motion, which can be seen here, began back in November 2010 when Motorola sued Microsoft over some wireless and video coding patents that were used in the Xbox and Microsoft smartphones. 

Microsoft argued with the court that Motorola Mobility was going beyond their rights and were seeking extraordinarily unfair royalty payments. The patent claims in particular were in regards to the H.264 video patents, which are now used as industry standards.  When something becomes a common standard in technology, royalties must be done in such a way that it is considered reasonable and nondiscriminatory in nature.

In May 2012 an ITC Judge ruled that Microsoft infringed on Motorola’s patent with their Xbox gaming system.  In reply, an ITC commission was to decide on the ruling.  In return the ITC commission could not come to any type of resolution and returned the ruling back to the judge for another review of the case. 

While Motorola/Google dropped the 2 suits, there is still a third suit that is ongoing and based on U.S. Patent No. 6,069,896, which is wireless peer-to-peer network technology.  This patent is not considered to be similar to the other two, which are considered to be industry essential standards.  In the U.S. District Court of Western Washington, that court will soon decide on a similar case where Motorola is suing Microsoft for royalties in the neighborhood of  $4 billion dollars (U.S.). 

The two patents cases recently dropped by Motorola/Google are not supposed to have any bearing on the Western Washington case.