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Motorola complaint against Microsoft narrowed

Judge invalidates chunks of patents

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Google-owned Motorola has had its patent portfolio trimmed by a US judge in its ongoing battle with Microsoft.

Reuters is reporting that judge James Robart of the US District Court has ruled thirteen claims in three patents (US 7,310,374, 7,310,375 and 7,310,376) invalid.

The order is at Scribd, here. At issue are two claims relating to image handling (re-assembling a picture from parts of a picture, in the ‘374 patent, and decoding a stream into an image, present in the ‘375 and ‘376 patent).

In attacking the specific claims, Microsoft successfully argued that the “means-plus-function” claims made in the three patents were “indefinite” and therefore invalid.

“The specification needs to provide a decoding algorithm from which to base the understanding of one skilled in the art, and the court can find no such algorithm within the specification. Instead, the “means for decoding” limitations claim all corresponding structure under the sun by expansively defining the function in the specification as anything that decodes digital data. This definition renders the “means for decoding” limitation invalid for indefiniteness,” the judgement states.

There remain plenty of other claims still at issue in the epic lawsuit, so it’s not yet time to pack away the popcorn. ®

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