If you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of a thousand corporate suits all yelling at each other about boring patent litigations. Ordinarily we wouldn’t care whether Apple hates Motorola or Samsung hates LG, but when a German court in Mannheim rules against Microsoft and orders them to stop selling the Xbox 360 and Windows 7, we can’t help but pay attention.
That’s pretty much what’s happened. In Germany, Microsoft is no longer allowed to sell the Xbox 360 and Windows 7 OS thanks to a court ruling in Motorola’s favour. According to the ruling, Microsoft has infringed upon a patent that deals with video compression; that patent belongs to Motorola. While Microsoft and other companies are arguing that Motorola has been over-charging for this patent, Motorola is demanding $4 billion in annual royalties.
The good news is that a Seattle-based court has granted Microsoft a preliminary injunction, which essentially prevents Motorola from following through with the German court’s ruling. For now, Xbox 360 consoles and copies of Windows 7 will remain on German store shelves. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out, especially because Microsoft isn’t the only company that uses Motorola’s video compression patent.