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Motorola's Germany Xbox sales ban castrated by US judges

Appeal court puts a stop to ban on Microsoft boxen

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Motorola is not allowed to stop Microsoft Xboxes from being sold in Germany after a US appeals court agreed that the sales ban was too narrow.

A court in Seattle prevented Google-owned Motorola from enforcing an injunction against the games console, and a three-judge panel at the appeals court has agreed with that decision.

Motorola and Microsoft have been trading patent lawsuits over Android and the Wi-Fi and video-compression technology in Xboxes. Motorola won a ban in Germany on the video patents, but the US courts have argued that there could be problems with inconsistent judgments because the German case was filed after a similar case in the US.

Motorola had said that it was "surprised" that Microsoft was trying to block the ban, when Motorola had to issue a security bond to cover Microsoft's losses if the decision was overturned on appeal. Moto added that Redmond could have gotten around the ban if it had just made an "unconditional offer" for a licence from Google.

Microsoft tried to get the ban stopped by asking Motorola to accept a bond from it of $300m and told the company that if it didn't agree, Microsoft would go to the district court.

The Windows 8 giant is reluctant to sign a contract with Motorola because it claims that the company's 2.25 per cent royalty would add up to around $4bn a year, although Motorola disputes that figure.

As a result, Microsoft filed a breach of contract suit in the US, currently scheduled for November, alleging that Motorola has breached its obligation to license the patents on a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis. It is because of the initial suit being filed on US soil, and the fact that it relates to two American companies, that the Seattle court was able to intervene in the matter of the Germany ban. ®

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