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Wednesday, December 21, 2011
ITC Finds That Motorola Infridges A Microsoft Patent

In a blow to Android, a judge at the U.S. International Trade Commission issued an initial determination that Motorola Mobility infringes four claims of a Microsoft patent. The judge also found that Motorola does not infringe claims related to six other Microsoft patents.

The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in the U.S. International Trade Commission determined that Motorola Mobility does not violate six of the seven Microsoft patents listed in Microsoft?s suit. Microsoft had previously dropped two patents from its original case which included nine patents.

Patent number 6,370,566, which the administrative law judge at the ITC found Motorola infringes, describes generating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device.

"We are very pleased that the majority of the rulings were favorable to Motorola Mobility," said Scott Offer, senior vice president and general counsel of Motorola Mobility. "The ALJ's initial determination may provide clarity on the definition of the Microsoft 566 patent for which a violation was found and will help us avoid infringement of this patent in the U.S. market."

Microsoft referred to Samsung, HTC, Acer and others as choosing "the right path forward" in deciding to license patents from Microsoft.

"One key step behind us in the ITC. More to follow. But we'll also remain focused on licensing," Brad Smith, general counsel at Microsoft, wrote on Twitter.

Motorola claims that Microsoft continues to infringe its patent portfolio and Motorola Mobility has active patent infringement litigation and proceedings against Microsoft in a number of jurisdictions, including the ITC.

The ALJ's initial determination is subject to further review by the ITC. The final decision in this case, based on the deliberation of the full ITC, is expected by April 20, 2012. Motorola noted that sales outside the U.S. are not within the focus of the ITC.

Motorola, which has agreed to be acquired by Google, was one of the few large phone makers to battle Microsoft over mobile patents related to Android rather than sign a licensing deal.

The notice follows an ITC decision on Monday to ban the importation of HTC Android products that infringe an Apple patent.

In addition to Microsoft's actions, Apple has sued Samsung and Motorola in various courts over their Android products. In addition, Oracle is suing Google for patent infringement in Android.

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