Motorola has been granted a sales injunction in Germany against Microsoft's Xbox 360, Windows 7, Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player, though the ruling is yet to be enforced. The Mannheim Regional Court was convinced that Microsoft's products overstepped the mark on two patents deemed essential to the H.264 video standard last week, though the judgement, FOSS Patents reports, was delayed until today. However, while the ruling does, on paper, allow Motorola to insist Microsoft yank its products from shelves, the actual outcome is less certain.
Microsoft is expected to lodge an appeal immediately, meaning any injunction would only be preliminary. That could open Motorola up to significant damages if it insists on pushing ahead with a sales ban, but the injunction is subsequently overturned; in any case, it would have to stump up millions of euros in bonds to get the preliminary injunctions agreed.
More complex, meanwhile, is the other litigation and antitrust investigations ongoing outside of the H.264 case. A US court has ruled that Motorola will not be able to enforce a ban against Microsoft until antitrust claims are fully explored in the country, with Microsoft alleging that Motorola demanded in excess of $4bn annually to use its patents.
In Germany, the appeals court also has the power to suspend any move by Motorola to push for an enforced injunction if early analysis of the appeal suggests it will be successful.
Microsoft has already abandoned its German distribution hub, moving its European operations to the Netherlands over what it said was "the risk of disruption from Motorola's patent litigation" in the atypical German legal system.