In what is a large blow to Google, a federal judge has invalidated 13 Motorola patent claims against Microsoft in what has been an on-going legal spat between the two companies. The claims concern a total of three patents that deal with a video codec standard, with Microsoft having had requested their invalidation based on a patent law, something the court ultimately agreed with.
The decision was laid down by Judge James L. Robart, the presiding federal judge over the case. The patents in question were 7,310,374, 7,310,375, and 7,310,376. Concerning the first patent in the series, claims 14 through 18 were invalidated. Regarding the second patent, claims 13, 14 and 16 were invalidated. And finally, regarding the last patent, claims 14, 15, 18 through 20, and 30 were invalidated.
Claims 8 through 13 for patent '374 remain, claims 6 through 11 and 17 remain for patent '375, and claims 22, 23, and 26 through 28 remain for patent '376. These claims aren't safe, however, and could still end up being invalided in the future, adding to the blows again Google. According to FOSS Patents, the invalidation was for "indefiniteness of means-plus-function."
Said Judge Robart: "...even were a person of ordinary skill in the art able to devise an algorithm for decoding the function from the disclosed encoding description, that alone does not rescue the disputed means limitations from indefiniteness ... The specification needs to provide a decoding algorithm from which to base the understanding of one skilled in the art, and the court can find no such algorithm within the specification."
[via FOSS Patents]