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Jury reckons Motorola wasn't 'fair and reasonable' to Microsoft

Googorola to hand over $14m after trying to charge excessive patent fees

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Microsoft has said that a Washington jury had agreed with its claim that Google-owned Motorola had broken its promises to standards-setting bodies to license its standards-essential patents at fair and reasonable rates.

The jury awarded Redmond $14m in damages, around half of what it had asked for. Most of this, $11m, is to pay Microsoft's costs for having had to relocate a warehouse in Germany after it was served with an injunction to stop selling some of its products there after Motorola won a case in the country's courts. The rest of the money is to recompense it for the legal fees it coughed while fighting the injunction.

"This is a landmark win for all who want products that are affordable and work well together," Microsoft said in a statement. "The jury's verdict is the latest in a growing list of decisions by regulators and courts telling Google to stop abusing patents."

Googorola has said that it will appeal the jury's decision.

"We're disappointed in this outcome, but look forward to an appeal of the new legal issues raised in this case," the phone company said, according to Reuters. "In the meantime, we'll focus on building great products that people love."

Microsoft has been totting up its wins against Moto's attempts to use standards-essential patents in court. Earlier this year, a US judge ruled that the rate the company was trying to get out of Microsoft for wireless and video tech used in Xboxes was too damn high and pinned the figure at around $1.8m annually, rather than the $4bn a year Moto was trying for.

In this trial, Microsoft argued that Moto had breached its standards duties by trying to claim royalties that were "wildly excessive".

"While a seller may be willing to come down from an opening offer, that does not mean that any offer is commercially reasonable just because negotiation might follow," Microsoft told the court. "Beyond the yawning chasm that separates Motorola’s demands from the RAND royalty, the evidence otherwise confirms that Motorola’s demands were completely unfounded and commercially unreasonable." ®

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