Motorola violated Microsoft patent, rules judge

Posted by Emma Woollacott

The International Trade Commission has ruled that Motorola Mobility did not violate six of seven Microsoft smartphone patents in a decision claimed as a victory by both companies.

The remaining patent is one of seven Windows Phone and Windows Mobile patents which Microsoft claimed was being infringed. US Patent No. 6,370,566 covers 'generating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device'. Offending handsets include the Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq XT, Devour and Backflip.

In the event, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) ruled that the other six patents weren't being violated.

"We are very pleased that the majority of the rulings were favorable to Motorola Mobility," says Scott Offer, senior vice president and general counsel of Motorola Mobility.

"The ALJ’s initial determination may provide clarity on the definition of the Microsoft 566 patent for which a violation was found and will help us avoid infringement of this patent in the US market."

However, the patent that was upheld appears to cover the ability to schedule meeting requests from mobile devices - a pretty basic feature for business users in particular.

"If they're on travel or even just at lunch or in a meeting room, they want to be able to schedule meetings without having to go back to their office. Scheduling meetings is also increasingly popular on some social networks, so it's probably a feature for both enterprise users and consumers," says patent expert Florian Mueller.

"It remains to be seen how Motorola will address this issue as well as any other Android patent issues that will present themselves along the way, with many other cases and dozens of other patents still waiting for a decision."

With Motorola Mobility already in Google's shopping cart, the search giant must be worried. it's buying Motorola Mobility specifically to protect Android vendors from patent lawsuits such as this.