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25 May 12 Microsoft Wins Motorola Android Device Ban in Germany

Microsoft Motorola Injunction

Microsoft has won an injunction in a German court against Motorola Mobility Android devices, the company confirmed Thursday. The injunction arises from Motorola’s infringement of a Microsoft patent covering the transmission of long text messages by breaking them into multiple parts.

Motorola, now a subsidiary of Google, was charged by Microsoft with violating two European patents controlled by the Redmond software giant: EP 1,304,891, concerning text messages, and EP 0,669,021, which facilitated localizing applications into different languages. Motorola was not found to have violated the second patent.

Microsoft’s legal victory has no practical effect until or unless it decides to enforce it, an action that will require the posting of a €25 million (US$31 million) bond.

While there is no indication yet on whether Microsoft be forced to pursue enforcement of its injunction, the company obviously hopes that Motorola, in the face of defeat, will move quickly to arrange a licensing agreement. 

Microsoft spokesperson Thomas Baumgartner told GigaOM: “We are pleased the court agreed today that Motorola has infringed on Microsoft’s intellectual property and we hope Motorola will be willing to join other Android device makers by taking a license to our patents.”

Motorola issued its own statement in response: “We are pleased that the Munich Court ruled Motorola Mobility did not infringe Microsoft’s EP 0 669 021 patent, which relates to a specific way to localize programs. For Microsoft’s EP 1 304 891 patent, which relates to processing of long SMS messages, we expect a written decision from the court on June 1st and upon review, will explore all options including appeal. This is one element of a global dispute initiated by Microsoft.”

Today’s injunction in Germany is the latest development in an ongoing global battle between Microsoft and Motorola. This past Monday, Microsoft won an import ban on Motorola devices at the ITC over Motorola’s infringement of a Microsoft scheduling patent.

Earlier this month, Motorola was the victor in another German case relating to video compression patents, winning an injunction against Microsoft that could prevent the company from distributing its Xbox, Windows, Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player products in the country if Motorola pursues enforcement pending a related US-based case.

[Teaser graphic elements via Shutterstock.]

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