ITC issues preliminary ruling, finds Microsoft's Xbox 360 infringes on Motorola patents

Potential bad news to start out the week for Microsofties: a judge from the US International Trade Commission has issued a preliminary ruling that finds Microsoft's Xbox 360 infringes on five four of Motorola's patents (and in Microsoft's favor on one). While the decision is by no means final -- which means that the Redmond outfit could ultimately prevail -- a final ruling would force Microsoft's hand to seek proper licenses for the technologies, most of which relate to H.264 video encoding, or have its gaming console banned from US shelves. For now, the lawyers will go back to the lab to refine their arguments and get ready to present them to a full panel of ITC judges later this year. Who wants to set odds on the outcome?