Feeds

Microsoft off the hook for billions in Motorola Mobility payout

Court case hinges around patents used in Xbox

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Microsoft has triumphed in a court battle after a judge dismissed claims it owed Motorola Mobility billion-dollar royalties for technology used in the Xbox 360. The judge broke new ground by determining specific royalty fees to be paid for the use of standard-essential patents, which he said should amount in the millions rather than the billions.

Motorola Mobility had wanted 2.25 per cent of the revenue made on the sale of each Xbox, potentially amounting to $4bn. The games console uses Motorola's patented video-decoding and Wi-Fi technology.

In a Seattle courtroom yesterday, US District Judge James Robart told Microsoft it must pay Motorola Mobility, which is now owned by Google, half a cent per unit for the video-decoding patent and three-and-a-half cents for the wireless patent, amounting to about $1.8m a year.

In a statement, David Howard, deputy general counsel for Microsoft, said: “This decision is good for consumers because it ensures patented technology committed to standards remains affordable for everyone."

Microsoft uses Motorola Mobility's patents which adhere to the 802.11 wireless local area networking standard and the H.264 advanced video coding technology standard.

Standard essential patents are crucial in technology. They are maintained by standards-setting organisations, who seek commitments from companies to supply technology fitting these standards at "fair, realistic and non-discriminatory rates" (FRAND).

The court case started in 2010, when Microsoft claimed Motorola had breached its FRAND obligations by asking for 2.25 per cent per unit to license its wireless and video-decoding technologies. The court then set out to decide what constituted a fair payment for the patents.

According to Redmond, which reported $73.7bn in revenue over the course of 2012, Motorola's fees would mean Microsoft would have to hand over more than $4bn a year.

After yesterday's ruling, Matt Kallman, a spokesman for Motorola Mobility, said in a canned statement: “Motorola has licensed its substantial patent portfolio on reasonable rates consistent with those set by others in the industry."

Now Microsoft must face its opponent once again in court in August, when a judge will decide if Motorola Mobility breached its obligation to license standard patents to Redmond. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.