Microsoft has won a patent battle with Motorola in a case that could have a sweeping impact on the technology industry. Motorola had been seeking more than $4 billion in licensing fees from Microsoft for standards-essential patents, but the judge awarded the Google-owned company only about $1.8 million per year.
All Thing’s D’s Ina Fried and John Paczkowski reported, “A federal court in Seattle issued a ruling Thursday that could help settle the question of just how much a company can expect to reap from standards-essential patents. In the highly anticipated court ruling, U.S. District Judge James Robart determined that Google’s Motorola Mobility unit is entitled to about $1.8 million a year from Microsoft for its use of certain patents. Motorola had been seeking in excess of $4 billion in the case, which centered around patents related to the the H.264 video standard and the 802.11 wireless standard.”
Ars Technica’s Joe Mullin noted, “Motorola’s request of 2.25 percent would have worked out to $4.50 on a $199 Xbox. Instead, it will be entitled to 3.5¢. It’s a staggering difference that almost destroys the idea of Motorola using standards-based patents as strong ammunition in the patent wars. $2 million generally won’t cover big-firm legal fees in even one patent case, not to mention all-out patent wars that involve multiple actions at the International Trade Commission as well as district courts.”
The Register quoted Microsoft’s David Howard, who said, “This decision is good for consumers because it ensures patented technology committed to standards remains affordable for everyone.”
Bloomberg’s Susan Decker observed, “The ruling marks a rare instance in which a U.S. court has set guidelines on how patent owners should value inventions on industrywide standards, which are developed so devices running on different platforms can work together. It’s an issue that has prompted inquiries by antitrust regulators on three continents involving companies such as Samsung Electronics Co. and InterDigital Inc. (IDCC).”