Motorola Android Devices Don’t Infringe Microsoft Interface Patent, German Court Says

By Joseph Mandour on October 5, 2012

Cell Phone Patent LawyerOrange County – A German court ruled Friday that Microsoft Inc.’s European patent for a radio interface that allows smartphone apps to work on different handsets is not infringed by Motorola Mobility LLC’s Android devices.

Judge Andreas Voss of the Mannheim Regional Court did not immediately give any explanation for his decision in favor of the Google Inc. subsidiary, FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller reported Friday.

A trial was held in August on Motorola’s alleged infringement of Microsoft’s EP1233343, titled “Method and radio interface layer comprising a set of application programming interfaces.” The patent is the European equivalent of U.S. Patent Number 6,826,762, which Microsoft has asserted against Motorola in the U.S. International Trade Commission.

The ITC ruled earlier this year that the U.S. patent is valid but not infringed. Microsoft has since appealed that decision.

The ITC also issued an import ban in the U.S. in another case earlier this year against certain Motorola devices, ruling that they infringed a Microsoft meeting scheduler patent.

Germany has become a popular venue for infringement lawsuits in the global smartphone, tablet and Android operating system patent wars because its court system works more quickly on such cases than its sluggish U.S. counterpart.

The court’s Friday decision follows three other patent rulings German courts have handed down in favor of Microsoft against Motorola over the course of 2012, which yielded sales bans in that country against many of Motorola’s devices.

The most recent ban, imposed in late September, found Motorola infringed a Microsoft patent for a software input system that lies at the core of the Android operating system.

Also in September, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a Seattle federal judge’s decision to temporarily block Motorola from enforcing its own patent injunction it won against Microsoft in Germany in May banning the sale of its Xbox 360 gaming system and Windows software.

Motorola and Microsoft are embroiled in ongoing contract and patent litigation in the Western District of Washington that focuses on how to interpret and enforce patent holders’ commitments to industry standard-setting organizations, which establish technical specifications to ensure that products from different manufacturers are compatible with each other.

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Posted in: Patent Infringement