Amongst all the recent patent litigation, Microsoft filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission claiming that Motorola violated six of their smartphone patents. An Administrative Judge has ruled in favor of Microsoft in one of these complaints and dismissed the other five. Both sides have proclaimed victory.
The patent in question deals with generating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device and involves the Motorola Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq XT, Devour and Backflip. The ruling could be seen as a victory for either side. Motorola skated on the majority of the claims but won't get off scot free. Motorola faces importation bans and will either have to develop/tweak the technology to avoid the infringement or pay licensing fees to Microsoft. Still, Motorola is seeing the glass half full. Motorola's Senior VP and General Counsel stated,
""We are very pleased that the majority of the rulings were favorable to Motorola Mobility. The ALJ’s initial determination may provide clarity on the definition of the Microsoft 566 patent for which a violation was found and will help us avoid infringement of this patent in the US market."
In a similar statement from Microsoft's Deputy General Counsel David Howard, Microsoft claims victory in winning one of six complaints by stating,
“We are pleased with the ITC’s initial determination finding Motorola violated four claims of a Microsoft patent. As Samsung, HTC, Acer and other companies have recognized, respecting others’ intellectual property through licensing is the right path forward.”
So what does all this mean? The Administrative Judge's ruling is the first step in resolving things. The ruling will now go to the full ITC Commission, who will likely support it, and an appropriate action will be determined that may include a ban on importing the devices in question. The ITC's final ruling is then subject to a sixty day review by President Obama.
The ITC final ruling is expected by April 20, 2012.