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Xboxes stay on sale but may cost Microsoft money in Google case

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Google-owned Motorola won't be granted an injunction against Microsoft's Xbox games console, but only on the grounds that Redmond will cough up the readies if necessary.

Motorola had mooted the injunction in response to Microsoft's suit claiming patent infringements on Android handsets. But a federal judge in Seattle has decided that, given Motorola's wireless patents are FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory), Microsoft can buy a backdated licence if it is found to be infringing.

So an injunction to remove Xbox consoles from the shelves would be entirely inappropriate.

FRAND patents are those accepted into a standard on the condition that the owner agrees to license them out at a fair and reasonable rate.

The decision represents a minor victory for Microsoft in the ongoing war, and it shows that getting a patented technology adopted as part of a standard is a double-edged sword. In times past the news was (almost) all good, but now that patents are being wielded as weapons the FRAND obligations are rendering some of them a little blunt.

Motorola and Microsoft are continuing the good fight; as Ars Technica notes, they have both been busy filing with the (US) International Trade Commission in the hope of having each others' products banned from import.

The court case rumbles on with Motorola's patents covering radio and video compression standards while Microsoft argues that other Android licensees have paid up so Google/Motorola should be paying them too. ®

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