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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.

August 26, 2013 at 6:15 AM

Microsoft and Motorola return to court for more patent battling

[Update 9:20 p.m.: My story from today’s Day 1 of the trial is here.]

From earlier:

[Note: I will be at the courthouse starting at 9 a.m. Monday to cover the opening day of this trial. Jury selection is scheduled to take place in the morning; opening statements may start as soon as this afternoon. Follow along on Twitter at @janettu.]

Microsoft and Motorola head to federal court in Seattle today for the start of part 2 of a patent trial that has become part of the larger battle between Microsoft and Google, which now owns Motorola Mobility.

A jury will decide whether Motorola breached its agreement to provide certain of its industry-standard patents to Microsoft on fair and reasonable terms.

Part 1 of the battle, which involved a trial in November 2012 and a decision issued by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart in April, didn’t end so well for Motorola.

Judge Robart’s ruling, in which he determined how much would be fair for Motorola to ask Microsoft to pay, had been favorable to Microsoft.

Microsoft said the rate set by the judge would amount to the company paying about $1.8 million annually to Motorola — close to the $1.2 million Microsoft had suggested as a reasonable amount.

Motorola had asked initially for 2.25 percent of the sale price of each Xbox and Windows — a rate that Microsoft said would amount to paying Motorola $4 billion annually.

Motorola had said the 2.25 percent was an opening number, subject to further negotiation.

That first part of this patent battle was the one with the most widespread ramifications for tech firms because it was the first time a federal judge had ruled on what a reasonable royalty rate or range is for industry-standard patents — patents for technologies that form standards commonly used across the industry.

The patents in this case 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.

“Motorola’s definitely got an uphill battle at this point,”  said Jorge Contreras, an associate professor at American University’s Washington College of Law.

Motorola’s parent company, Google, appears to want to continue the battle because “this is Google’s leverage against Microsoft in the Android fight,” Contreras said.

Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: google, motorola, patent

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