The case seems to be going Microsoft‘s way as a federal jury in Seattle ordered Motorola to pay Microsoft $14.5 million in damages for breach of contract. This is the latest development in an on-going spat between the two companies involving the licensing of patents owned by Motorola and used by Microsoft in a number of its products.
The case revolves around patents owned by Motorola on the 802.11 wireless technology standard and the H.264 video compression. These technologies are used in numerous devices, including Microsoft’s Xbox game consoles. It is common business practice to pay patent owners a licensing fee in order to use the said patents, but it seems that the two tech giants couldn’t see eye to eye on just how much money is really involved.
In 2010, Microsoft filed a lawsuit against Motorola, claiming that the now Google-owned company is charging excessive licensing fees that could reach up to $4 billion per year. While Microsoft has no qualms about paying royalty fees, it could not agree to Motorola’s demand to be paid 2.25 percent of profits from Microsoft’s products using the said patents.
Microsoft earned a small victory in April, when a federal judge determined that the company need only pay $1.8 million a year to Motorola instead of billions. Once again, Microsoft gained a win with today’s verdict, but might not be fully what the company wanted, as it initially demanded an amount of $29 million in damages. Still, Microsoft called it a landmark victory against technology rival Google.
But as with any legal case, there will always be appeals, which Motorola has promised to do soon, so we’ve definitely not yet heard the end of matter.