A new court case involving Google, Motorola, and Microsoft went to trial yesterday on Wednesday, April 8th, where Google was appealing with oral arguments about the ruling of a previous Microsoft vs Motorola case in which Microsoft had sued Motorola, for failing to license its standard essential patents on fair terms. The initial ruling was by a single District Court judge, James Robart, with no jury and was in favor of Microsoft, and yesterday Google began to appeal that decision, arguing that the trial should have been held with a jury to decide the ruling.
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According to Reuters, the U.S. appeals court was skeptical of Google’s arguments, stating that all three judges in the panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agree that at the time of the Microsoft vs Motorola case years ago, a trial by jury wasn’t sought by Google’s attorneys. Google is likely not just trying to turn over the original ruling though, as having a jury decide what reasonable royalty amounts would be could mean a higher figure of what it costs for Microsoft on those patents. Judge Robart initially ruled following the 2012 trial, that Motorola’s royalty fees were worth $1.8 million, however Motorola was seeking royalties quite a bit higher in the amount of $4 billion.
Both sides of the trial are said to have big name companies in support of their arguments, with Microsoft reportedly receiving backing via filed documents from Apple and T-Mobile, and Google/Motorola having support from Qualcomm and Nokia. Although the trial has just begun, a decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals isn’t expected to be made until possibly months from now. In addition to Google’s arguments on the royalty fees, Google is also reportedly trying to get a reversal on the $14.5 million in damages which Microsoft was awarded years ago in a separate trial following the first one. What the decision will be regarding both these matters is unknown at this point in time, and will likely be a while before a decision is made in favor of either company.