Motorola Loses Patent Fight With Apple As Microsoft Squabble Continues

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Google-owned Motorola losing battles on a number of fronts

Apple has scored a win in its patent battle with Motorola, whilst the latter bickers with Microsoft over how much the Windows-maker owes the Google-owned smartphone maker.

A judge from the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled yesterday the Apple iPhone did not violate a patent owned by Motorola, covering a sensor that prevents accidental hang-ups. The judge ruled the patent was invalid.

“We’re disappointed with this outcome and are evaluating our options,” Jennifer Erickson, a spokeswoman for Motorola Mobility, told Bloomberg in an email.

PatentsPatent wars

Apple had no comment. Back in August, it won another squabble with Motorola, after one of the latter’s claims related to patents for 3G technology was thrown out.

Apple has won plenty of skirmishes with Motorola. In September, a German court said Motorola products infringed Apple’s “bounce-back list” patent.

However, last month, a judge threw out Apple’s claim that Motorola was seeking excessive royalty payments for its standards essential patents.

Meanwhile, the Google-owned phone maker has been battling Microsoft over how much is owed for patents covering Motorola’s H.264 video compression and 802.11 Wi-Fi technology. Microsoft believes it owes $502,000 a year for H.264 compression and $736,000 for the Wi-Fi patent, according to post-trial filings.

But Motorola believes it is due 2.25 percent of the sale price of each Xbox and each copy of Windows. According to Microsoft, that will cost it $4 billion every year.

The details emerged after Motorola learned it would not be granted an injunction on Microsoft products in the US, even if it won the case and proved patents had been infringed.

Google shelled out a massive $12.4 billion (£8 billion) for Motorola. Many saw the move as a Google patent grab, rather than a bid to expand its hardware operations. It later emerged that Google valued Motorola patents at $5.5 billion.

Fed up with tech patent stories? Try our Christmas quiz!