Spring is in full bloom and that means lawsuits among software and hardware companies in the technology world. It just wouldn’t be spring without them, right? Well a Federal judge decided that Microsoft would have to give Motorola—owned by Google—$1.8 a year for the use of wireless and video coding patents. These patents are used in the Xbox and smartphones.
The original suit was for $4 billion for patents that were within the H.264 video and 802.11 wireless SEP (standard essential patents)—both of which are part of the original Xbox console and Windows. Microsoft had no problem paying royalties, but didn’t want to pay what Motorola were seeking.
The payout U.S District Judge James Robart came to was 0.555 cents for each unit using its H.264 standards and putting the product at 16.389 cents per unit. Meanwhile Robart decided that the 802.11 SEP would see 3.471 cents per unit and 0.8 cents for other products. Microsoft’s Deputy General Counsel David Howard said that Microsoft was pleased with the decision while Motorola did say this on their patent licensing:
“Motorola has licensed its substantial patent portfolio on reasonable rates consistent with those set by others in the industry.”
In short, that means that Motorola feels that they are always on top of their patents, don’t let them slip, and are familiar with who uses their patents for what. They also feel they charge appropriately.
This particular case started back in 2010 when Microsoft sued Motorola for charging excessive royalties for its patents. Motorola returned fire by claiming infringement of 16 patents by Microsoft in their PC and server software, Windows Mobile, and Xbox products—which Judge Robart recently ruled in favor for in regards of two named patents. You can expect this case to set the pace for what patent holders can actually charge for the use of their technology.
While one could say Motorola has won this case, you can be sure Motorola aren’t looking at this with “a win’s a win” shades while Microsoft is elated that it would only need to pay front pocket money in royalties.