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Patents Iphone Microsoft XBox (Games) Apple

Motorola Scores Patent Wins Over Microsoft, Apple 158

tlhIngan writes "This week is Motorola's lucky week; they've won twice in two separate patent suits. First, an ITC judge has ruled that Microsoft's Xbox 360 has violated 4 of 5 patents related to h.264. This is just a preliminary ruling (PDF) and both Microsoft and Motorola will face an ITC panel later this year. In the other case, the ITC judge has ruled Apple violates a 3G patent, one that a German court ruled that Apple didn't violate earlier this year. "
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Motorola Scores Patent Wins Over Microsoft, Apple

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  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @05:41PM (#39788103)

    Given Microsoft's bullying of Android - an area where they don't even compete - I'm quite happy to see them coming out on the short-end of this stick. When I buy Android it's in part because I don't want to give my money to Microsoft or Apple. Now let's see a good strong Apple defeat such that Motorola (and other Android vendors) resolve these issues through cross-licensing instead of money.

  • Google Wins! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheNarrator ( 200498 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @05:43PM (#39788137)

    So Microsoft and Apple both wanted to screw up web video by only supporting the heavily patented H.264 standard instead of Google's open Web-M standard. So Google went and bought Motorola Mobility and is now throwing their own patent strategy back at them. If they claim H.264 isn't patentable than they lose that way otherwise Google can charge huge royalties and make them pay for being so greedy.

    Brilliant chess moves as usual by the Google team.

  • by Concern ( 819622 ) * on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @05:53PM (#39788227) Journal

    I think at this point a great many are over it (Google, IBM, and the entire FOSS industry) and if enough of the patent countersuits succeed against Apple and Microsoft (the most prominent non-troll offenders), there will be a time where even they are willing to stop throwing good money after bad.

    I suspect many execs who would not publicly admit it are getting sick of the patent lawyers already.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @06:01PM (#39788325)

    And so began the great Worldwide Patent War of 2012.

    Motorola launched and scored a hit with their patent.
    Apple and Microsoft panic and fire off their arsenal of patents. Facebook, Samsung, Google, IBM, etc. all get pulled into it.
    Yahoo! takes the opportunity to launch a sneak attack at Facebook. The patent scores a critical hit with the assistance of a clueless judge setting a new precedent.
    Patent trolls rejoice at this and proceed to crawl out of the woodwork to start flinging their own patents around...

    The MPAA/RIAA become jealous that there is all these lawsuits going around and they aren't getting a piece of the action. So they sue all of the above companies for lost sales, since all the money they're spending on lawsuits would have been used to license music/movies through them.

  • Oh, you are serious? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Concern ( 819622 ) * on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @06:18PM (#39788485) Journal

    OK. Here's how software patents work.

    There are hundreds of thousands of them. None of them required any investment to develop. They simply memorialize things that everyone always did - commenting inside of curly braces, using tables for compression, having the "AM" flip to "PM" when you scroll the hours past noon, having plugins in web browsers and "one click purchase buttons" and so forth.

    No one can ever know what their work infringes on. Not even Microsoft or Google, who have carte blance budgets for such things. They simply write code and wait to get sued.

    Even if the software patent fairy came down and waved her little magic wand, and you could know exactly which hundreds or thousands of patents you infringed, it would be worthless by tomorrow. Thousands of new patents are filed every day.

    The only effect that software patents can have is to make every piece of code a ticking patent time bomb.

    The scam was supported by a few, like Microsoft, because they saw it as a way to prevent competition and hurt free markets. They need only send part of their multi-million dollar legal team to the patent mines and amass a "war chest" that would enable them to sue others, and countersue when they were, themselves, inevitably brought to court. This would have the effect of making it impossible for anyone to write software without having a multi-million (these days multi-billion) investment in patent lawyers.

    The only reason the U.S. has a functioning software industry is that the practice of using these patents is so repugnant and ridiculous that most businesses and all individuals ignore them.

    Unfortunately, in their haste, cupidity and basic ignorance of cause an effect, backers like Microsoft neglected to realize that they would create a new kind of company, called a patent troll. These companies would buy patents that Microsoft was violating, and sue them. But Microsoft's patent war chest would be unusable as a defense, because patent trolls are very careful to do absolutely no useful work of any kind. Their entire business is suing the people who do actually do useful work. MS has already had 9-10 figures in judgments come in against them from trolls and they have had a few close calls with actually having to pay out.

    If you are wondering who created software patent law, the answer is, not congress. Some lawyers tried it, and it flew, and it's happened all on its own - a little power grab by the patent bar and the USPTO.

    This is partly why so few industrialized countries other than the U.S. have a software patent regime the way we do, because it is so prima facie ridiculous. They have been rejected in Europe and Asia. We are an international laughing stock for having such an obviously corrupt practice.

    Meanwhile there is very little basis for software patent law to exist even on this basis in the U.S.. The Supreme Court has already famously struck down patents on i.e. math equations, which are vanishingly similar. They came quite close to explicitly striking down software patents already in En Re Bilski. The whole game will be up before long - no one has any choice. The more the practice grows, the faster it chokes itself off.

    Good day, sir. Respond if you like, I won't read it.

  • Re:h.264 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SimonTheSoundMan ( 1012395 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @07:21PM (#39789123) Homepage

    A big sigh of relief from Mozilla I think. This is exactly why they wanted to keep out of h.264. It wouldn't be the patent payout for either licensing or fines, but the cost of lawyers that would cripple Mozilla.

    I don't know why Mozilla didn't just "move" the development from the USA to a European country where software patents do not exist. Rich people do it with money to avoid tax, surely Mozilla could do it to avoid patents.

  • by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @07:39PM (#39789327) Homepage

    by John Carmack

    I'm proud that there is "a relative dearth of patent applications for the video game industry, especially considering how technology-dependent the video game industry is, and given its size in terms of annual sales."

    Before issuing a condemnation, I try hard to think about it from their point of view -- the laws of the land set the rules of the game, and lawyers are deeply confused at why some of us aren't using all the tools that the game gives us.

    Patents are usually discussed in the context of someone "stealing" an idea from the long suffering lone inventor that devoted his life to creating this one brilliant idea, blah blah blah.

    But in the majority of cases in software, patents effect independent invention. Get a dozen sharp programmers together, give them all a hard problem to work on, and a bunch of them will come up with solutions that would probably be patentable, and be similar enough that the first programmer to file the patent could sue the others for patent infringement.

    Why should society reward that? What benefit does it bring? It doesn't help bring more, better, or cheaper products to market. Those all come from competition, not arbitrary monopolies. The programmer that filed the patent didn't work any harder because a patent might be available, solving the problem was his job and he had to do it anyway. Getting a patent is uncorrelated to any positive attributes, and just serves to allow either money or wasted effort to be extorted from generally unsuspecting and innocent people or companies.

    Yes, it is a legal tool that may help you against your competitors, but I'll have no part of it. Its basically mugging someone.

    I could waste hours going on about this. I really need to just write a position paper some day that I can cut and paste when this topic comes up.

    John Carmack []

  • Re:Frand... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @10:29PM (#39790737) Journal

    I can see why you'd like me to be less informed. The issue is that Motorola offered a license, which was declined. And these companies are now using the patented technologies without a license having been offered one. They have no license. You are not allowed to use patented technology without a license. They are breaking the law. The "F" in "FRAND" does not stand for "Free".

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!