(This story is running in the print edition of The Seattle Times April 12, 2012. – Janet I. Tu)
A federal judge in Seattle has granted Microsoft’s request to prevent Motorola from enforcing a possible upcoming injunction that could stop Microsoft from selling Windows and Xbox in Germany.
Granting Microsoft a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, Judge James Robart of the U.S. District Court in Western Washington made the decision Wednesday afternoon in a patent case Microsoft filed against Motorola.
The case is one of several patent battles being fought between the two companies in courtrooms from Seattle to Washington, D.C., to Mannheim, Germany.
A German court is expected to rule next week on whether Microsoft infringed on Motorola’s patents. If Microsoft were to lose that case, Motorola could have sought an injunction barring Microsoft from selling two of its most important products in that country.
[Update April 12: Bloomberg reports that the Mannheim court was scheduled to issue its ruling April 17 but that that ruling has been postponed to May 2.]
But Robart’s decision Wednesday means that Motorola will not have that option — at least for now.
In leading up to his decision, Robart talked about weighing several factors, including potential harm, should he not issue a temporary restraining order. Of the two companies, Microsoft would face stronger potential irreparable harm, he said, including not being able to sell its products in Germany and facing negotiating licensing fees “under threat” of a pending injunction.
Robart also emphasized that his ruling affects Motorola’s actions, not those of the German court.
Motorola had argued that Microsoft, in asking for the temporary restraining order, was asking the court to “inject itself into foreign litigation proceedings in an entirely unwarranted manner.”
In addition, Robart set a $100 million bond from which Microsoft would have to pay Motorola if a court were to determine later that Motorola should have been allowed to get its injunction in Germany.
(Continue reading the story here.)