A federal judge, who last month scolded Microsoft and Motorola Mobility for hubris and arrogance in a closely watched patent case, today dismissed motions from both companies and put the dispute on track for a November trial.
It’s a case that has taken on added significance with Google recently completing its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola.
Microsoft had contended that Motorola breached the agreement it made through industry standards groups when it sought royalties of 2.25 percent on sales of products including Xbox 360 and Windows PCs in exchange for rights to Motorola video and wireless patents considered essential to industry standards.
Motorola had argued that Microsoft gave up its right to reasonable terms when it filed the lawsuit in response to Motorola’s initial letter outlining the proposed royalty rates.
During an earlier hearing on the motons, Jesse Jenner, a lawyer for Motorola, argued that Microsoft should have responded to the demand by entering into negotiations, rather than filing a lawsuit. Jenner said of Microsoft, “They preferred litigation, for strategic reasons, over engaging with Motorola.”
U.S. District Judge James Robart today denied the motions for summary judgment from both companies, ruling that the issues should be decided at trial, not grounds for a decision by him at this point. Read his full decision here: PDF, 28 pages.
Microsoft issued this statement on the judge’s decision, “This case is about Motorola breaking its promise to make its standard essential patents available on reasonable terms and putting the price and availability of consumer technology in jeopardy. Today’s decision underscores that Motorola made a promise to the industry which it now must keep, and we look forward to the November trial to determine the appropriate licensing royalty.”
Florian Mueller has more analysis of the decision in this blog post on FOSS patents.