This whole legal dispute between Motorola and Microsoft is starting to get serious. Last time we checked in on this ongoing balls-up, a German court had decided that Microsoft was in the wrong; this resulted in a decision to ban the sale of Xbox 360 consoles in Germany. This ruling was essentially put on hold thanks to an injunction on behalf of a US court. You can read all about that here.
Now, however, US court Judge David Shaw has recommended that the International Trade Commission ban the importation of Xbox 360 Slim 4GB and 250GB models into the USA. Xbox 360 consoles are assembled in China, so all available consoles in the USA are imports.
This recommendation stems from Judge Shaw’s belief that Microsoft has indeed infringed on Motorola’s patent on video decoding; that decoding software is used in Xbox 360 consoles, and Motorola is claiming that Microsoft is utilising it without permission.
On top of the ban of sales of those two models of Xbox 360 consoles, Judge Shaw believes that Microsoft should have to pay Motorola 7% of the total value of existing, unsold consoles in the USA. Microsoft thinks that amount should be lowered to 2.5%, but Motorola wants 100%.
If the ITC agrees with Judge David Shaw’s recommendation, then the decision will sit on President Obama’s “to-do” list for a maximum of 60 days. During that time, Obama is entitled to review the ITC’s decision.
Oddly enough, it’s just those two specific models of Xbox 360 consoles that get mentioned by Judge Shaw. Here’s hoping that Microsoft hasn’t gone and put the same video decoding software in the next Xbox console.
This is also kind of ironic in light of the fact that Microsoft just won a case against Motorola involving the ban on importation of certain Motorola cell phones into the USA. This is a separate patent infringement case between the two companies, only this one has to do with calendar software and not video decoding.