As a result of an antitrust settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Google has withdrawn two patent claims from a dispute against Microsoft (News - Alert) (News - Alert). The company, which filed its patent infringement case with the International Trade Commission, has accused Microsoft of patent infringement against a Google (News - Alert) subsidiary, Motorola (News - Alert) Mobility, in the making of Microsoft’s popular Xbox 360 game console.
“We're pleased that Google has finally withdrawn these claims for exclusion orders (sales bans) against Microsoft, and hope that it will now withdraw similar claims pending in other jurisdictions," wrote David Howard, Microsoft's deputy general counsel, in an e-mail to Reuters (News - Alert).
Last year, according to Bloomberg (News - Alert), Microsoft preemptively sued Motorola Mobility, claiming that Motorola (News - Alert) had violated its commitment to license its industry standard patents on reasonable terms. Motorola Mobility had made an initial demand of $4 billion in royalties, or 2.25 percent royalties from sales of products that used Motorola Mobility patents. The company countered that Microsoft never made a counteroffer so that the two parties could negotiate a reasonable settlement.
Google (News - Alert) then purchased Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion and continued the patent infringement hearings.
In addition to the issue of exorbitant royalties, Microsoft argues that the patents held by Motorola Mobility are standard-essential patents. Such patents ensure that devices are interoperable, and Microsoft asserted that Google could not request a sales bans on Microsoft products when arguing cases about patents essential to a standard.
Contributor Ed Black of Forbes magazine praised the FTC for its measured antitrust ruling against Google. Black noted FTC chairman John Liebowitz’s statement that the FTC existed to protect consumers, not competitors.
“This prudent approach after a thorough and warranted investigation shows that antitrust enforcement, in the hands of responsible regulators, is sufficiently adaptable to the realities of the Internet age,” Black wrote.
A single patent remains in question between Google and Microsoft. The patent dispute is listed as ITC Case No. 337-752.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman