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Motorola's bid to sink Windows, XBoxes sales snubbed

US judge rules German Microsoft ban bid is kaput

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Microsoft has won its fight in the US to stop Motorola Mobility from enforcing a banning order on Windows and XBox sales that a German court may award the phone-maker.

Redmond had asked a court in Seattle to prevent Motorola from using an injunction, backed by patents for the H.264 video codec, to stop Microsoft from selling loads of its gear. The Windows software giant wants to strike a global licensing deal for all Motorola patents in a US court case and successfully argued that a German ban would wreck worldwide negotiations.

"Motorola promised to make its patents available to Microsoft and other companies on fair and reasonable terms," Microsoft deputy general counsel David Howard said in a statement on Twitter. "Today's ruling means Motorola can't prevent Microsoft from selling products until [a US] court decides whether Motorola has lived up to its promise."

Microsoft was willing to post a bond to pay the mobile-maker if it is eventually decided that Motorola was entitled to the injunction. Motorola replied that Microsoft was asking the Washington court "to take the unprecedented step of enjoining enforcement of a foreign court's judgment in the issuing court's own country".

Judge James Robart said that Microsoft would come to more harm from not being able to sell its stuff in Germany and having to haggle with Motorola on licensing fees in those circumstances, than Motorola would suffer by having a hold put on its ban, The Seattle Times reported. He set a $100m bond for Microsoft to pay Motorola if the German court later decides in the mobile-maker's favour.

"Our focus from the outset has been to receive fair value for our intellectual property based on Microsoft's use of (Motorola's) patented technology," the phone company said in a statement after the ruling.

The German court is due to decide on the video codec case on 17 April, a case that Microsoft is bracing itself to lose. As well as appealing to the US court to snub any ban, Redmond has also taken the defensive step of pulling its European distribution centre out of Germany, blaming Motorola's patent litigation for the move. ®

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