ITC bans Motorola mobile devices for infringing Microsoft patent (updated: MMI responds)


At the end of last year, an Administrative Law Judge issued an initial ruling that Motorola's mobile devices infringe a bit of Microsoft's IP. Now, the Commission has affirmed that decision and issued an exclusion order to ban Moto's offending devices from importation into the US. In case you weren't aware, the four patent claims at issue generally cover technology for scheduling meetings over email using a mobile device. So, unless Motorola removes the feature, pays for a license or whips up a workaround Microsoft's patent in short order, its inbound RAZRs, Droid 4s, Bionics and other offending handsets will be stuck in customs alongside HTC's One X and EVO 4G LTE -- that is, unless Obama steps in to save the day during the prescribed presidential review period. Microsoft, naturally, is quite pleased with this development and has issued a statement:

Microsoft sued Motorola in the ITC only after Motorola chose to refuse Microsoft's efforts to renew a patent license for well over a year. We're pleased the full Commission agreed that Motorola has infringed Microsoft's intellectual property, and we hope that now Motorola will be willing to join the vast majority of Android device makers selling phones in the US by taking a license to our patents.

-- David Howard, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel Microsoft

We've reached out to Motorola for comment on the matter as well, so stay tuned to see what it has to say.

Update: Motorola has issued an understandably somber statement on the ruling:

Microsoft started its ITC investigation asserting 9 patents against Motorola Mobility. Although we are disappointed by the Commission's ruling that certain Motorola Mobility products violated one patent, we look forward to reading the full opinion to understand its reasoning. Motorola Mobility will not experience any impact in the near term, as the Commission's ruling is subject to a $0.33/per unit bond during the 60 day Presidential review period. We will explore all options including appeal.