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Google To Meet Microsoft In Court Over “Reasonable Royalty” Disagreement

April 7, 2015 - Written By Justin Diaz

Google and Microsoft will meet each other in an appeals court Wednesday, April 8th 2015 over a disagreement about reasonable royalty amounts, where both companies will argue their case before a three-judge panel of the 9th District Circuit Court of Appeals. While both parties are expected to plead their case tomorrow a verdict/decision isn’t expected to be established until several months later, and even when a ruling is made if either Google or Microsoft doesn’t care for the result, either company has the ability to appeal to the Supreme Court or request that the case be heard by the full Circuit Court.

The disagreement between Google and Microsoft started years ago in 2010, where Motorola claimed that Microsoft was infringing on some of its patents relating to the H.264 video and 802.11 wireless standards within its Xbox video game console. After making the claim that Microsoft was infringing on some of its patents, Motorola sued Microsoft for patent infringement and attempted to have sales of the Xbox consoles blocked, while also seeking royalties of $4 billion a year. Microsoft believed that Motorola was in a breach of contract for the failure to license their standard essential patents, which led Microsoft to file their own lawsuit against Motorola. Microsoft’s case wouldn’t go to trial until years later, where it was split into two different phases, with the first phase resulting in the trial judge ruling that $1.8 million was a reasonable amount for the royalties and not the $4 billion that Motorola wanted initially. The second trial of Microsoft’s case happened in September of 2013, where Microsoft was alleging that Motorola was in a breach of contract with a failure to act in good faith, which the jury ruled in favor of Microsoft.

Google’s involvement comes about as they kept all of Motorola’s patents after they sold off the brand to Lenovo, and with Google still having interest in the outcome, they’re now arguing that things didn’t get handled the way that they should have and on Wednesday, April 8th are appealing the decision of Microsoft’s trial from September 2013. Motorola agrees and is arguing that the case is about patents and as such, should have been handled by the Federal Circuit Court instead, while Microsoft is seeking to keep the ruling decision upheld, stating that Motorola was in a breach of contract where it failed to license its standards-essential patents relating to the H.264 video and 802.11 wireless standards, which is the initial ruling from a couple of years ago. Both Google and Microsoft have arguments and filings from companies in support of either side, including T-Mobile and Apple siding with Microsoft while Qualcomm and Nokia are in support of Google and Motorola.