Microsoft Sues US Customs Over Motorola Mobility Import Ban

Microsoft says customs held secret patent meetings with Google and is not enforcing ITC import ban

Microsoft is suing US Customs and Border Protection for failing to enforce an import ban on Motorola mobile phones that infringe the Windows Phone developer’s patents, accusing it of holding secret meetings with Google.

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) issued an import ban in May 2012 after ruling that Motorola Mobility devices used a Microsoft patent for a method of syncing calendar events with other computers.


However, US customs has continued to let offending mobile phones into the country after holding secret meetings with Google, which claimed the order didn’t apply to syncing through its own servers, just Microsoft’s, and asked for a grade period to allow the changes to take effect. The ITC has previously rejected both requests.

Motorola Mobility patent dispute

Microsoft says it was not made aware of these meetings until after the June decision to allow the continued importation of Motorola phones and says Google has done nothing to remove the feature that infringes the patents.

In its filing, Microsoft accused customs of failing in its responsibility to carry out the ITC’s decisions, while Google has said Microsoft is attempting to deny Americans from using a wide range of calendar functions.

The ITC order is in effect until Microsoft’s patents expire in April 2018, although an appeal is scheduled for 6 August in Washington.

Microsoft and Motorola have been engaged in a number of patent disputes in recent years, with both sides securing victories.

Google acquired Motorola Mobility in an £8 billion takeover in 2012, partly to gain control of its vast patent portfolio, which it has valued at £3.5 billion. However, the search giant has so far been unable to convert this into leverage against its competitors, having lost a major complaint against Apple earlier this year.

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