Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been basking in its own revelry since it made its big announcement of the new Xbox One gaming and entertainment console – though the reaction from the press, bloggers and techies has been less than enthusiastic – while it has been contending with a serious issue that threatened the Xbox franchise. And yes when it comes to tech, there are two little words that can cause upheaval in the marketplace, and at least can create some enemies in a world where there is usually professional respect.
Now, many people know that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) bought Motorola Mobility in 2011, and almost as many people know that one of the top reasons, if not the main reason, for the purchase, was for Motorola’s rich patent portfolio, which was expected to shield Google from many patent fights. But what some may not have known or anticipated was that Google would use the portfolio in an aggressive way, as Mountain View has been using the newly acquired patents to go after any and all competitors in the market.
One of the targets has been Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), which has had its popular Xbox gaming console in the market for years. But since Google took over the Motorola portfolio, the Xbox has been scrutinized to the point that Google filed a complaint withthe U.S. International Trade Commission, charging that the Xbox console infringed on several patents owned by Motorola.
As part of the case, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) – er, Motorola Mobility – was requesting a U.S. import ban on the Xbox. The six-member Commission ruled late Thursday to uphold the March decision of ITC Administrative Law Judge David Shaw striking down Motorola’s claim of infringement on five patents, all of which were allegedly being infringed in the Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox.
The case began in 2010, but was eventually shaved down to a single patent before Shaw issued his ruling, and the full commission then upheld the decision, which essentially ends the case. In its statement, the commission stated that “Motorola failed to establish indirect infringement on the merits.”
“This is a win for Xbox customers and confirms our view that Google had no grounds to block our products,” said Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) deputy general counsel David Howard.
But wait – isn’t Microsoft v. Motorola a familiar patent theme?