Patent Wars: Google loses to Microsoft over Xbox

Google’s latest loss over patents came yesterday when the US International Trade Commission turned down their request for a ban on Microsoft’s Xbox after finding that the gaming device did not violate a patent owned by Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility. Google alleged that Microsoft had infringed one of its Motorola Mobility patents and wanted a ban on Xbox imports.

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This was a confirmation blow to Google of an initial ruling by an administrative law Judge in March that the Microsoft Xbox did not violate a Motorola patent relating to wireless peer to peer communication.

It’s not the first time when Google patent violation plea has been rejected.  Not long back but in 2010 Motorola Mobility had filed 5 patents violation cases against Microsoft. Much to Google’s disappointment those were rejected or dropped in succeeding months while the remaining one was rejected yesterday.

Motorola’s spokesman William Moss expressed his disappointment through email saying.

“We’re disappointed with this decision and are evaluating our options”.

Google had purchased Motorola last year for a record US$12.5 billion, a reason being Motorola’s rich patent portfolio. Hence its rival, Microsoft understands that it is more than just a mere victory.

In a statement, David Howard, a Microsoft deputy general counsel, said

“This is a win for Xbox customers and confirms our view that Google had no grounds to block our products”.

Even though Microsoft is smiling today, if you analyze this patent war you will know that this was never a one-sided affair. Go through the sequence below of events and you will know why I say that.

Round 1 – In April 2012 TC Judge David Shaw said in a preliminary decision that Microsoft infringed four patents and did not infringe on a fifth. No decision was taken though.

Round 2 – June 2012, the trade panel sent the case back to the judge for reconsideration.

Round 3 – October 2012, two other patents, relating to the 802.11 standard, were withdrawn by Motorola.

Round 4 – January 2013, because of an antitrust settlement with federal regulators, Google asked a trade panel to drop two patents relating to the H.264 video from the complaint because they were essential to a standard.

Knock out Round – Finally Google loses the last patent case.

With Technology companies spending billions of dollars to buy patent portfolios it won’t be wrong to say that this just a beginning.

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Ankit Gupta is a writer by profession and has more than 7 years of global writing experience on technology and other areas. He follows technological developments and likes to write about Windows & IT security. He has a deep liking for wild life and has written a book on Top Tiger Parks of India.