German court grants Motorola an injunction against Windows 7 and Xbox

Microsoft is confident it will be able to keep doing business in Germany

Motorola Mobility won an injunction on Wednesday preventing distribution of Microsoft products including Windows 7 and the Xbox in Germany, but it can't enforce the injunction yet. Microsoft will appeal the case and is confident it can keep doing business in Germany, the company said.

The Mannheim Regional Court ruled on Wednesday in four different cases brought by Motorola against Microsoft and its German and Irish subsidiaries, granting an injunction preventing sales of Microsoft products that Motorola alleges infringe two of its patents. Motorola claims two of its European patents, EP0538667 and EP0615384, are essential to the H.264 video codec standard that Microsoft implements in products including Windows 7 and the Xbox.

But there are two obstacles to Motorola enforcing the injunction immediately.

Microsoft plans to appeal the court's decision at the Higher Regional Court in Karlsruhe, said Microsoft spokesman Thomas Baumgärtner.

That means that in each of the four cases Motorola must post a bond of between €60 million (US$79 million) and €120 million if it wishes to enforce the injunction before the appeal is heard, to provide compensation for Microsoft if the higher court were to rule the injunction invalid, Mannheim Regional Court spokesman Joachim Bock said.

The other obstacle is litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, which ruled on April 12 that Motorola cannot enforce a German injunction against Microsoft until a May 7 hearing. The U.S. case turns on the companies' differing views of what would constitute fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing terms for patents declared essential to the implementation of technology standards.

According to Bock, the German court said nothing about the possible consequences of the U.S. ruling.

But Microsoft will continue to do business in Germany, according to Baumgärtner. The company is confident that the U.S. ruling will be sufficient to stop Motorola from enforcing the German injunction, he said.

Motorola spokeswoman Gemma Goatly said in an email that Microsoft products infringe Motorola's intellectual property. "As a path forward, we remain open to resolving this matter. Fair compensation is all that we have been seeking for our intellectual property," she added.

Microsoft announced on April 2 that it would move its European distribution center from Germany to the Netherlands due to the litigation brought by Motorola over the patents.

Microsoft has now moved the center to Venray in the Netherlands, a spokesman for the company in Redmond said. Baumgärtner said Microsoft chose that destination because it is easier to predict what impact patent litigation will have on business in the Netherlands.

A spokesman for the Higher Regional Court in Karlsruhe said that if Microsoft chose to appeal, the case could begin within two or three months.

Loek covers all things tech for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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Loek Essers

IDG News Service
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