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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

May 14, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Judge issues preliminary injunction barring Motorola from blocking Xbox, Windows sales in Germany

A federal judge in Seattle who last month temporarily prohibited Motorola from enforcing any injunction against the sales of Microsoft products in Germany has converted that temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction.

Judge James Robart of the U.S. District Court in Western Washington wrote in today’s order granting Microsoft’s request for a preliminary injunction that:

Based on the evidence before it, the court finds that Microsoft has shown that a German injunction enjoining the sale of Microsoft Software and the Microsoft Xbox in the country of Germany will result [in] irreparable harm. Microsoft has provided this court with convincing evidence that it will lose market share, which will be difficult to regain, and suffer harm to its business reputation.

Judge Robart also wrote that “Motorola faces little injury by an anti-suit injunction. By issuance of an anti-suit injunction, this court is in no way stating that Motorola will not at some later date receive injunctive relief, but only that it must wait until this court has had the opportunity to adjudicate that issue.”

While this decision has little immediate practical effect to speak of — Microsoft currently can sell and will be able to continue selling Xbox and Windows in Germany — it does mean the prohibition against Motorola remains intact until the U.S. District Court here makes a decision on the case. (That’s because the TRO is supposed to be a short-term solution, after which it is dissolved or turned into a preliminary injunction.)

Two related court cases — one in the U.S. District Court here and one in Mannheim, Germany — are at issue in this patent battle between the two companies.

Judge Robart’s decision today stems from a case Microsoft filed in U.S. District Court for Western Washington in November 2010. That lawsuit claims Motorola breached its contract to provide, at reasonable rates, use of its patented technologies that have become standard in online video viewing and wireless usage.

Motorola’s case in Germany, filed there in July 2011, claims Microsoft violates some of Motorola’s patents involving those same technologies. That court decided earlier this month that Microsoft does indeed infringe on those Motorola patents and issued an injunction. But because of the Seattle judge’s ruling, Motorola is unable to enforce that injunction.

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