Microsoft has won this week a complex assault on the patent war, when the International Trade Commission of USA (ITC, for its acronym in English) has ruled ( PDF ) that the popular Xbox entertainment system of the U.S. company did not violate a patent owned subsidiary of Google Motorola Mobility.
If the ITC had ruled that Microsoft infringed the patent, could have prevented the Xbox was imported into the United States.
The fight about the Xbox is related to the largest patent war so far in the field of smartphones from Apple, Microsoft and the mobile phone manufacturers that use the ‘software’ Google Android, including Motorola Mobility .
Motorola Mobility in 2010 initially accused Microsoft of violating five patents. Four were withdrawn in the following months that left only one, that allows devices to communicate wirelessly over short distances.
“This is a victory for Xbox customers and confirms our view that Google had no reason to block our products,” said Microsoft deputy general counsel deputy, David Howard, in a statement. Meanwhile, Motorola was “disappointed with this decision” and is evaluating its options, has revealed a company spokesperson said in a statement.
Technology companies have spent billions of dollars to buy patent portfolios , and even more money litigating patent cases worldwide.
The Xbox case has undergone many ups and downs since the filing of the first lawsuit in late 2010. In April 2012, the ITC Judge David Shaw said in a preliminary decision that Microsoft infringed four patents and did not infringe fifth. But instead of deciding the case, as usual, in June 2012, the Commerce Commission remanded the case to the judge to reconsider his decision.
Last January, after an antitrust settlement with federal regulators, Google asked the trade commission to stop two patents of the complaint, and that are essential to a standard. Such patents ensure interoperability and receive special treatment.
Google had promised the Federal Trade Commission that it would not seek sales ban infringement based on standard essential patents. At that time, there was only a patent. This past March, an ITC judge ruled that Microsoft did not infringe the patent on the technology and recommended closing the case. The entire ITC has followed this recommendation Thursday.