German Court Hands Down Motorola Sales Ban In Microsoft Patent Case

Software Patent LawyerOrange County – A judge in Munich, Germany ruled Thursday that Google Inc.-owned Motorola Mobility LLC is infringing an important Microsoft Inc.-held European patent for a software input system, which lies at the core of the Android mobile operating system.

European Patent Number EP1040406, titled “Soft input panel system and method,” generally relates to the input of data into a computer system across multiple input sources, a function used by many Android applications.

Judge Peter Guntz of the Munich I Regional Court ruled that the Android operating system itself infringes the patent, and granted Microsoft an injunction against Motorola’s continued sale of infringing products, according to patent blogger Florian Mueller.

“In my opinion, this is by far and away the technically most impactful patent, apart from standard-essential patents, to have been enforced against anyone in the smartphone patent wars,” Mueller wrote.

Microsoft will have to pay a bond of 75 million euros to enforce the sales ban, and can enforce a recall of the infringing products with an additional 10 million euro payment.

Microsoft and Motorola are embroiled in a dispute in the Western District of Washington over the U.S. equivalent of the patent as well.

Motorola is the only leading Android device maker that has not already licensed the patented technology at issue from Microsoft.

Microsoft recently won two other German injunctions against Motorola, one over a text message layer patent and one concerning a file system patent.

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

Microsoft has typically been very successful in persuading competitors to license portions of its powerful patent portfolio, especially as it relates to operating systems.

Earlier this week the company announced it has struck a licensing deal with Research in Motion Ltd. to grant the Blackberry maker access to its latest technology to optimize flash memory storage, widely used in smartphones and other devices. RIM will now be able to use Microsoft’s Extended File Allocation Table, known as exFAT, a modern file system that facilitates large files for audiovisual media.




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