As expected, a court in Mannheim, Germany, has ruled that Microsoft infringed on Motorola Mobility patents related to video playback capabilities in Windows and the Xbox 360. However, thanks to a previous US district court ruling, Microsoft won't be forced to take those products out of the market, as demanded by the German court.
Microsoft has long complained that Motorola Mobility’s protection of its standard-essential video patents was illegal, and the firm filed a competition complaint with the European Union (EU) earlier this year, arguing at the time that Motorola Mobility (and its pending owner Google) were trying to “kill video on the web.”
(The Motorola Mobility patents relate to common video playback functionality on the web as well. Apple separately filed its own related complaint against Motorola Mobility at the time. The EU has announced a formal investigation.)
With this new ruling, Microsoft is looking to the future.
“This is one step in a long process, and we are confident that Motorola will eventually be held to its promise to make its standard essential patents available on fair and reasonable terms for the benefit of consumers who enjoy video on the web,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in response to the German ruling. “Motorola is prohibited from acting on today’s decision, and our business in Germany will continue as usual while we appeal this decision and pursue the fundamental issue of Motorola’s broken promise.”
The ruling follows an earlier ruling by the US International Trade Commission (ITC), which also found that Microsoft infringed on Motorola Mobility’s video patents. That ruling, too, was widely expected and, like this week’s ruling, will have no immediate impact on Microsoft’s ability to continue selling products in the United States or elsewhere.