Microsoft gets upper hand in first Google patent trial

Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:03am EDT
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SEATTLE, April 26 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp came out on top in the first of two patent trials versus Google Inc's Motorola Mobility unit on Thursday, as a federal judge in Seattle ruled largely in its favor.

U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle said Microsoft owed only a fraction of the royalties Motorola had claimed for use of its technology in Microsoft's Xbox console.

Motorola had sought as much as $4 billion a year for use of its wireless and video patents, while Microsoft argued its rival deserved about $1 million a year. Robart decided the appropriate payment was about $1.8 million.

Microsoft welcomed the outcome.

"This decision is good for consumers because it ensures patented technology committed to standards remains affordable for everyone," said David Howard, Microsoft's Deputy General Counsel, in a statement.

A Motorola representative could not immediately be reached for comment.

The ruling is a blow for Google, which bought Motorola for $12.5 billion, partly for its intellectual property stockpile. Robart's low valuation make Motorola's patents a weaker bargaining chip for Google to negotiate licensing deals with others.

The second patent trial between the two, set for this summer in Seattle, will decide if Motorola breached its duty to license its so-called standard, essential patents to Microsoft on fair terms.

The Microsoft-Motorola spat is just one strand of a wide-ranging battle over who owns the technology behind smartphones and other new electronic devices.   Continued...