Microsoft Loses Patent Battle in Germany – May Be Banned From Selling Windows, Xbox 360 In the Future But Most Likely Not


By: Stephen Crane (Photo: Flickr user Sterlic)

According to news reports, Microsoft lost a legal battle against Motorola Mobility today when a German court granted an injunction against the software giant. According to the injunction, Motorola has the right to ban the sale of key Microsoft products like Windows 7 and Xbox 360 in Germany.

The patents in question are considered critical to the H.264 video coding and playback functionality. The reason why Microsoft apparently didn't try to acquire a license from Motorola is the cost for the technology would be around $4 billion per year according to them. Motorola disputes those numbers, but it says "We remain open to resolving this matter. Fair compensation is all that we have been seeking for our intellectual property."

Nothing will happen yet, however. No ban will take effect until after Microsoft appeals. In a spokesman's own words, "this is one step in a long process," which should make it pretty safe to say the ruling will have no immediate effect. Microsoft currently does not plan on changing its business plans for the immediate future and German residents can still buy all Microsoft products.

Another obstacle in enforcing the German ruling, according to BBC, is Microsoft's restraining order against Motorola in Seattle. The order claims Motorola was "abusing its Frand-commitments – a promise to licence innovations deemed critical to widely-used technologies under "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" terms."

In the end, this ruling is just the first part in a long, drawn out process which many agree will only result in a settlement between Microsoft and Motorola.

Microsoft is so pervasive in the technology of today, it's hard to imagine completely banning the sale of such key products as Windows 7 or the Xbox 360. Our video games will remain safe, although this could possibly have ramifications for future consoles and platforms. The story may only be tangentially related to video games and gaming, but it's definitely still interesting to see all the legal strategies involved with modern intellectual copyright laws.

You can read more about this story here and here.

About Stephen Crane

Stephen was hooked by the NES at a very young age and never looked back. He games on a daily basis and is currently trying to climb his way up the ranked ladder on League of Legends! Outside of the video game world he actually likes running and owns a rapidly growing collection of toed shoes. Stephen Crane is the owner of Armed Gamer.

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