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Motorola denied sales ban in Microsoft lawsuit

03 Dec 2012
Motorola Mobility headquarters logo

A US judge has denied Motorola's request for a sales ban on some Microsoft devices in the US

Motorola had been attempting to use its standard-essential patents to block the sale of certain Microsoft devices in the US. The District Court of Western Washington in Seattle's ruling means that Motorola will be unable to request an injunction on devices using the patents in question.

According to Judge Robart's ruling, Motorola was unable to prove that it would be financially hampered if Microsoft was allowed to continue to sell its wares.

"Microsoft seeks to dismiss Motorola's request for injunctive relief for patent infringement of the Motorola Asserted Patents," Judge Robart said in his court ruling.

"Because Motorola cannot show irreparable harm or that monetary damages would be inadequate, the court agrees with Microsoft that injunctive relief is improper in this matter and grants Microsoft's motion."

The ruling means that Motorola could use its patents to sue Microsoft for monetary damages but will not be allowed to sue for an injunction. Motorola's patents in question are widely used standard-essential patents. 

Standard-essential patents are patents which are commonly used in the industry.

Along with the dismissal of injunction, Judge Robart also told Motorola it will have to license its patents as Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (Frand).

The Frand ruling means that Motorola has to charge a specific amount of money for the patents in question. Judge Robart is expected to decree a basis for the price range soon.

Judge Robart dismissed the Motorola application without prejudice. However, according to patent expert Florian Mueller, Motorola still has a slim chance for a future Microsoft product injunction.

"The dismissal of injunctive relief is also 'without prejudice', but Motorola would only be able to seek injunctive relief if 'the specific circumstances and rulings that have developed in this litigation were to change in a manner to warrant injunctive relief'," wrote Mueller on his Foss Patents blog.

"Which is only a theoretical possibility because the normal course of business is now going to be that a licence agreement is created and that Microsoft pays court-determined royalties. The way I see it, Motorola would need a successful appeal to open the door to injunctive relief."

Microsoft declined to comment on the case to V3. Motorola was unavailable for comment at the time of this writing.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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