Judge James Robart has set Aug. 26 as the start date for what’s essentially Part 2 of a U.S. District Court patent trial battle between Microsoft and Motorola.
Microsoft, which filed the initial lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, contends that Motorola asked Microsoft to pay too much in licensing fees for some of its patents, breaching an agreement to provide such patent licenses on fair and reasonable terms.
A trial in November was held in which each side presented its case for what a fair and reasonable rate would be for such patents. The patents in question are “standards-essential patents” — patents for technologies deemed so essential that they have become standard use in the industry. In this case, the patents involve technologies used in the H.264 standard for video compression and the 802.11 standard for wireless connectivity. Microsoft uses those technologies in producing Windows and Xbox products.
Judge Robart is expected to issue a ruling any day now on what a reasonable royalty rate, or rate range, would be for Motorola’s standards-essential patents used for the H.264 and 802.11 standards. It would be the first time a federal judge issues a decision on what a reasonable royalty is for a standards-essential patent.
The second trial in August would be to decide, based on what Judge Robart has deemed to be a reasonable rate, whether Motorola breached its contract to license its patents on reasonable terms.
It has not yet been decided whether the trial in August would be a jury trial or a bench trial (one that’s conducted before a judge, without a jury).
Motorola Mobility, now owned by Google, had asked for 2.25 percent of the sale price of each Xbox and Windows — an amount that Microsoft said would amount to $4 billion annually. Motorola said the 2.25 percent was an opening figure, subject to further negotiation.