Dec 21 AT 8:59 AM Nick Gray 53 Comments

ITC preliminary ruling finds Motorola does infringe on one of Microsoft’s patents

lego-lawyer-gun-briefcase Image via: pasukaru76 with Creative Commons

Here we go again. Hot off the news of the ITC’s decision in favor of Apple in its case against HTC, the ITC has announced a preliminary ruling in Microsoft’s patent infringement case against Motorola. The preliminary judgment indicates that Motorola’s Android devices do infringe on Microsoft’s patent (#6,370,566) which entails “a mobile device which provides the user with the ability to schedule a meeting request from the mobile device itself.” Fortunately for Motorola, the initial ruling by the administrative judge will still need to be reviewed by the entire ITC panel before any final decisions are made on the case.

Rulings like these are typically bad news for Android OEMs, but Motorola appears to be very happy about the ruling. In its official press release, Motorola focuses more on the fact that the administrative judge threw out the six other patents that Microsoft claimed Motorola was in violation of. Motorola also pointed out that they are still pursuing legal action against Microsoft on multiple fronts in an effort to protect its intellectual property.

Unlike Apple, Microsoft has been negotiating licensing agreements with Android OEMs which will allow them to use their patent without fear of being sued. Since Microsoft is a little more reasonable than Apple, the worst that could happen is that Motorola will need to license the patent in question from Microsoft. As of now, Motorola has been the only OEM to challenge Microsoft’s IP claims over Android, but now that Motorola has somewhat of a leg up, other OEM’s could follow suit and use the ITC’s findings on the other six patents to regenerate their current licensing fees.

Do you see the ITC’s preliminary ruling in this case as a bad outcome for Motorola or is it a positive step for them and other OEMs which will allow them to keep a little more cash out of Microsoft’s wallet?

Show Press Release
Initial Determination from ITC Finds That Motorola Mobility Did Not Violate Six of the Seven Patents

Dec. 20, 2011

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. – Dec. 20, 2011 – Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: MMI) (“Motorola Mobility”) today announced that it has received notice that the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) in the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) action brought by Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) against Motorola Mobility has issued an initial determination. The ALJ determined that Motorola Mobility does not violate six of the seven Microsoft patents listed in Microsoft’s suit. The Company noted that Microsoft had previously dropped two patents from its original case which included nine patents.

“We are very pleased that the majority of the rulings were favorable to Motorola Mobility,” said Scott Offer, senior vice president and general counsel of Motorola Mobility. “The ALJ’s initial determination may provide clarity on the definition of the Microsoft 566 patent for which a violation was found and will help us avoid infringement of this patent in the U.S. market.”

Microsoft continues to infringe Motorola Mobility’s substantial patent portfolio and Motorola Mobility has active patent infringement litigation and proceedings against Microsoft in a number of jurisdictions, including the ITC. Motorola Mobility remains confident in its position and will continue to move forward with its complaints.

The ALJ’s initial determination is subject to further review by the ITC. The final decision in this case, based on the deliberation of the full ITC, is expected by April 20, 2012. The ITC’s final determination ruling would be subject to a 60-day review period by U.S. President Obama. The Company noted that sales outside the U.S. are not within the focus of the ITC.

Business Risks

This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about the impact of this litigation and future actions with respect to this litigation. Forward-looking statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in such forward-looking statements, including but not limited to the successful defense of the claims by Microsoft and protection of the company’s intellectual property; the timing of the matters before the ITC; the company’s continued ability to sell its mobile device products; and the other risks and uncertainties contained and identified in Motorola Mobility’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), any of which could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements included in this press release are made only as of the date hereof Motorola Mobility does not undertake any obligation to update the forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances or update the reasons that actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

Via: Engadget

Source: ITC

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • myandroid99

    Did not see that coming

    • Deter

      This is why i feel that these type of broad patents need to be terminated and the companies forced to submit more specific ones. In the field of technology things change too quickly. According to how the patent reads all smartphones regardless of manufacturer or OS are guilty. For that matter, there are non smartphones that will do this.

      • lxgeorge

        What the hell does that patent even mean?? Did they patent a calendar?

        • cxandroid

          Pretty much.

        • Homncruse

          As long as it’s not a rectangular calendar, yes; Apple owns the patent on rectangles, remember?

          • Homncruse


          • LukeT32

            When is moto going to sue for people using the word “emoto-con”. Didn’t Motorola start that?

      • Lewis McGeary

        Okay I realise this post is old now, but I’ve just had time to look through the patent. I’ll say before I begin that I’m not trained in law or versed in patents but this is my reading:

        The patent does not seem to be addressing cloud computing or the way android does appointments as I see it(I have not used a Motorola). Particularly look at points 9 and 10 under ‘Claims’.
        The description is of setting up the appointment on a mobile device, then synching with a desktop(‘coupling the mobile device to a computing device ‘). The other person then does a similar synching process between mobile and desktop. See also Fig 8 and Fig 9.

        This only seems to apply where each persons calendar is stored on their own desktop and they synch up by connecting phone to desktop, rather than a calendar in the cloud like Google’s, are Motorola doing something weird like this? If they are they should stop it anyway as we’ve moved on!

    • kazahani

      If I was Hasbro, I would sue Apple and M$. They’ve been making trolls since the 80′s.

  • w9jds

    Well, Overall I’m glad to hear that they aren’t just suing to stop something. All they want is having some of the rights to what they are using. This is how licencing should be. Patents should be oh you have something that we have a patent for you can’t sell it. I like seeing Android expand, even if it takes the courts to allow.

    • zerosix

      Patents should be “oh you have calendar app, give us some money” or “your tablet has screen, don’t sell it”?
      Patents should be like “I have invented something new, like Cooper in 1973″

    • cxandroid

      Except Obvious uses and solutions should not be patentable. The end result of cases like this will be to drive up costs, you eventually might be able to buy a device, but not afford to.

  • zyphbear

    Honestly, this seems like one of those common use patents, especially since I noticed they sued Motorola and not Google. After all, being able to search for something on your schedule from the device is pretty much a needed thing if you have access to your schedule on said device.

    I hope some of these Judges shoot back at some of the broadly generic patents and say that there should be no reason you have that simple thing patented.


    I want to know where is the Mean Face I have come accustomed to seeing when the word Microsoft is uttered in an article ?

    • w9jds

      I think they are starting to tone it down because the general bad guy these days is Apple.

      • Futureboy

        Yeah, but just because Apple is this week’s bad guy, doesn’t mean that the rest of the bad guys are any better or less of a threat. Every superhero has several supervillains to battle, none any less villainous than the next on any given day.

    • Sean the Electrofreak

      Are you referring to the look of disapproval?


  • mac08wrx

    that is just lame but microsoft is gona try everything to stop android because their phone is non existent

    • w9jds

      From what I have been seeing Microsoft isn’t trying to stop Android at all. If anything they are helping it forward just a bit. The only catch is Microsoft wants to make money on Android as well, hence the court cases. All they care about it seems is making bank, not competition.

      • mac08wrx

        you are correct its just seams that its part of their plan. Yeah they are milking android here and there from multiple manufactures. But only because they are failing with their current mobile os. If they had a snowballs in hell of a chance to compete with android they would be investing into the os not into trying to jack manufactures of their profits.

  • Toonshorty

    That is essentially a patent on a calendar for mobile phones.

    Apple will sue Microsoft for trying to become a patent troll too.

    • mac08wrx

      hahaha then what?

  • AsakuraZero

    as i say before and i will saying i preffer M$ way of doing its “business” rather than apple method of being “the only best”.

    but sure i the best outcome would be the denial of all the patents cases, because they are getting absurd

    • Thomas Biard

      Yeah, Apple still seems like the big bad guy and Microsoft seems like the pan handler outside the yacht club just trying to take whatever it can from whomever goes in.

  • stenzor

    I really like Microsoft so I hope they don’t turn out as dickish as Apple

    • mac08wrx

      to late….they are just as LAME as crapple sorry

  • ranwanimator

    All of this patent trolling is so frustrating. Every time I read what the patent entails, it ends up being the most basic, broad idea they could have come up with. I wish someone somewhere would do what it takes to fix our retarded patent system.

    • ndub21

      Completely agree. It’s absurd.

    • cxandroid

      Once upon a time, overly broad, or obvious solutions were thrown out. Not so much nowadays.

  • elijahblake

    THis looks like good news to me… Now all the other Manufacturers will see that Microsofts patents were all shit… they can simply write around this 1 patent at hand and Voila!!!

  • ndub21

    Definitely a good thing. Keep as much Android money out of Microsoft’s hands as possible. Go Motorola! I’m glad they stood up against the big M$. Maybe that has something to do with the Google acquisition.

  • Brook Marin

    Having my name on one patent and a few pending, I for one don’t have a beef with protecting intellectual property. If you can come up with an idea before the rest of your competition you should be allowed keep your competition from infringing on that idea (for a time). After a while though, especially in technology, things seem to get mainstream where it is almost a “duh”. For instance setting up a meeting appointment from your phone. Yes, that was a novel idea 5 or 10 years ago, but today it is commonplace.

    And as far as writing broadly, that covers your IP better. It helps to keep you in the driver’s seat of the technology/ideas/methods that you created. If you can come up with a better way of doing something that is already patented by tweaking one or two things then you can patent that idea/method.

    • Brook Marin

      having said all of that, I don’t like the idea of people buying up patents to sit on for years. patents are for the protection of the people that came up with the idea. I think that if you sell the patent to someone else the patent should have an immediate shelf life. each time the patent gets bought the shelf life should be cut in half. this would reward the inventor and discourage trolls from stifling innovation. (don’t ask me what time limits should be, because i have no idea)

  • Louis A

    Hopefully all the court fights and patent issues might help start in motion a review of how and the language used on these patents so companies should be protecting only what they invented on some vague generalization of what their product looks, will or should have looked like.

  • Skis03

    That is a very broad patent, I agree that it needs to be more specific.

  • Chuxter

    “a mobile device which provides the user with the ability to schedule a meeting”

    You gotta be kidding me!!! I just don’t think you should be able to patent anything this general.

    This is like Apple’s pattent for “the ability to unlock a phone by making any type of touch gesture imaginable”.

    Give me a break!

  • ramenchef

    Software patents need to be flat out eliminated. Patents in general also need a shorter lifespan and be required to be licensed at a fair price.

  • gpmillerjax

    How was Microsoft ever granted a patent like this? Oh USA, what a corrupt patent system we have.

  • cfvonner

    “a mobile device which provides the user with the ability to schedule a meeting”

    Microsoft applied for a patent on this in 1998, and it became effective in 2002. Wasn’t palm’s “Pilot” device already doing this as early as 1996? How did Microsoft get a patent on this?


  • Billy

    Is this a joke? Really. Schedule a meeting from a mobile device? Are laptops mobile? What about Palm devices? What about Newton? Didn’t these items have this ability?

    But beyond that … where is common sense? ITC sees that and goes sure … we will interrupt your business and sales operation over an obviously BS patent.

  • Jorge Eslava

    That’s pretty broad, every single phone I know would be guilty then, including feature phones.

  • Jason

    This should be insanely easy to work around… just have the calendar app send the meeting request as a web service (i.e. through or something). MS doesn’t have a patent on sending a meeting request from a website, so that should work around the patent.

    Presto, MS patents against Android all either dismissed or no longer valid. And REALLY easy to implement.

  • oddball

    Just like most of these cases the only people that win in the end are the lawyers. The patent wars have begun and until the average joe gets it explained why it’s a problem with the system not actually one company stealing ideas from another it’s only going to get worse

  • jimtravis

    I respect the concept of protecting the original vendor / person who first develops an idea, but these patents seem to be too broad, and too “natural technological progression” in many cases. I am not advocating throwing out the patent process, but it sounds like it needs a thorough review to update it for the consumer electronic age.

    Although I realize this is Microsoft, I do notice a difference in article tone on other sites when Apple looses or wins a patent case. When Apple wins, it is reported as the end of the world for the competitors, but when Apple looses, it is reported matter of factly, and then they move on with little, or no mention about impact on Apple, or the competition.

  • mclarensr

    another example of a flawed patent system.

  • Samar

    The OEM’s shud definately fight back. If a company ‘X’ had some darn patents 20 yrs ago, but din do anything relevent with it, and now that company ‘Y’ has done something good with it, ‘X’ wants to come get some from ‘Y’ pockets. Do you think That’s fair !!

  • S

    *drunk as hell* -Hey guys!! -What now ballmer? -i bet ya i can sue the jizz out of android by just saying we got patents on calendars!!! -To the windows-mobile!
    nanananana nananananananana BALLMER! BALLMER!

  • bizymare

    You know, we all want our phones to do the same sort of thing. I see it happening more and more. With the exception of Apple, can’t they just work it out?

  • Marcus

    I think Microsoft, Apple, and ITC hate Android. These lawsuits are ridiculous.

  • Adryan maldonado

    No i hope this last patent gets thrown out the window. You could sue anybody or anything. Microsoft could almost sue secretaries. Why dont they sue apple? Practically every phone can do that.

  • humidity

    I feel like these are never going to stop…

  • donger

    so much patents…