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Microsoft The Courts Your Rights Online

US Judge Rules Against German Microsoft Injunction 272

Posted by samzenpus
from the trump-card dept.
angry tapir writes "In an unusual case, a U.S. judge has ruled that Motorola cannot enforce an injunction that would prevent Microsoft from selling Windows products in Germany, should a German court issue such an injunction next week. Microsoft asked the judge for the ruling in anticipation of an injunction that a German court is expected to issue related to a patent infringement suit that Motorola filed against Microsoft in Germany. The suit centers primarily on Motorola licenses that have been declared essential to the H.264 video standard. The German injunction is expected on April 17."
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US Judge Rules Against German Microsoft Injunction

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  • Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by g0tai (625459) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @04:26AM (#39655251)
    IANAL, so can someone explain to me why a US court thinks it has any effect in Germany? Or is this some kind of 'threat'/'international business' thing that has some legal basis for multinational companies?
  • Re:Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @04:30AM (#39655263) Homepage Journal

    The US thinks their jurisdiction is the whole world -- they think copyright, software patents, making laws after something happened rather than before (Common law), screaming out on a marketplace of ideas to determine the best ... is a universal thing and awesome.
    But hey, if you're big, you don't need to care to listen.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @04:36AM (#39655295)

    The Judge ruled that: Motorola shall not enforce an injunction in Germany.

    The Judge did not rule that: a German court can't enforce an injunction in Germany.

    Jurisdictions remain intact.

  • Re:Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @04:38AM (#39655311)

    After reading the article, it seems the US court is ordering Motorola not to use the German legal system to block sales of Windows in Germany. So if Motorola were to do it anyway, I guess German customs would still enforce the injunction, but Motorola mangement in the US would risk punishment.

  • Re:Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .ecirpdrahcir.> on Thursday April 12, 2012 @06:04AM (#39655669)

    The judge has definitely overstepped the mark here, in my opinion.

    Motorola is seeking a limitation in another jurisdiction, under different rules, not the local jurisdiction under the local rules.

    By seeking to prevent Motorola from partaking in legal action in another jurisdiction, the judge has certainly limited Motorolas freedom to operate.

  • Re:Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @06:08AM (#39655681)

    In Germany, if the court grants you an injunction it is not automatically enforced immediately. The winning party needs to explicitly enforce it.

    Now a US court decided that the company Motorola may not enforce this injunction should it win it, since there are ongoing actions that have not been decided (like, whether the patent in question is actually invalid). So if Motorola were to enforce this injunction it would have an unfair disadvantage.

    So the US court has not interfered with German courts: it only ruled what the company Motorola may do should it win this battle in Germany.

    So a German court could give Motorola the right to enforce the injunction, but said right should Motorola win will be inhibited by a US court. How the hell is this not interfering with the German decision ?
    God damn the US, if only we could blast that shit country into deep space.

  • by MDillenbeck (1739920) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @06:13AM (#39655699)

    IANAL, so can someone explain to me why a US court thinks it has any effect in Germany? Or is this some kind of 'threat'/'international business' thing that has some legal basis for multinational companies?

    From the source article:

    The U.S. court should be the one to rule on that issue, Microsoft argued, because Microsoft filed its lawsuit against Motorola over the terms of a licensing deal before Motorola filed its suit in Germany.

    So, basically, they are arguing they have jurisdiction because the dispute originated in the US - and it sounds like the US justice system feels that the Motorola suit was more retaliation against Microsoft for bringing up the case than a preplanned and poorly timed execution.

    Personally, however, I believe the US would never tolerate another country making the same claim. Instead, the US would claim sovereign rights and not bow to any court, national or international (yes, the US has refused to recognize the proceedings of the International Criminal Court - showing how much it believes in having other powers meddle in its governance). Thus the US should respect the sovereignty of other nations to manage their own legal proceedings since we have no jurisdiction over Germany.

  • Re:Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .ecirpdrahcir.> on Thursday April 12, 2012 @06:31AM (#39655795)

    The line should be drawn at illegal practices, in my opinion - however, this particular case has nothing to do with illegal practices.

    Motorola are doing something completely legal in both the US and Germany, they are just doing it in German jurisdiction. The US Judge is threatening Motorola in US jurisdiction for something that isn't illegal in either place.

    The US Judge is trying to trump the authority of the German judge in his own jurisdiction. Thats overstepping the mark.

  • Re:It's a fact (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smpoole7 (1467717) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @07:02AM (#39655993) Homepage

    > Because the USA singlehandedly defeated the Nazis ...

    I don't know of very many American historians who believe that we "singlehandedly" defeated the Nazis. But if we hadn't joined WW2, the outcome would very likely have been very different. Not just because of the American military, but because of American *production*. We built (and provided to our allies -- including Russia) megatons of critical supplies.

    FWIW, I've never seen an alternate history of WW2 that had a good outcome when America didn't get involved. I realize that's not scientific and it's anything but conclusive, but Turtledove and others have done a ton of research -- including the perusal of military histories and what our allies themselves were saying before America became involved. The UK, for example, would now be a Nazi satellite and its Jews would have been eliminated.

    > America was quite late to the party of WW2 ...

    I believe you're thinking of WWI. Your argument, while still flawed and simplistic, might have held more weight there. But "WWII" didn't truly become a *world war* until the late 1930s. Plus, we were already providing assistance to UK before we became directly involved -- assistance that Churchill and other leaders publicly stated made all the difference to staying alive until we DID get involved.

    Besides, you completely ignore the Pacific theater. Sorry, I know you hate America, and we can debate the details all day long, but virtually every military historian I've ever read does believe that yes, we did in fact make a HUGE difference there.

    Hatred of America is understandable. (Being an American, it puzzles me, but that's for another argument. I've never claimed we were perfect -- anything but -- but people like you ignore the good that we do for foreign nations, such as provide aid after a natural disaster, because that doesn't fit in with YOUR preconceptions about how "evil" we are.) But deliberately editing history to feed your hatred is just silly.

    And yes, I'm an American, so you may now feel free to dismiss me solely on that basis. Won't change how I feel, though. :)

  • Re:Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrb (1083577) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @07:26AM (#39656171)

    Don't like how your case is going here? Sue in France!

    Which is absolutely fine, as any rulings of the French trade courts will only apply in France, not the United States. Contrary to what Microsoft claim, they doesn't need to license any E.U. patents for territories outside of the E.U. - the jurisdiction of E.U. patents ends at the E.U. borders.

    Would you be happy if the E.U. courts began to make judgements against Microsoft etc., and expressly said that the jurisdiction of those judgements wasn't just within the E.U., but also covered the U.S.? It is a blatant attempt to extend the jurisdictional territory of national patents onto other nations, which is certainly not allowed under the existing patent treaties. What if Chinese courts decide that they have the jurisdiction to rule on U.S. patent cases?

  • Bad Move (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @07:28AM (#39656189) Homepage Journal

    Typical MS arrogance. I know german judges, having both worked with them and been to court (usually as the plaintiff) in quite a few business-related cases. The judge in the german case is going to be pissed. MS is either stupid like shit in the "don't piss of the judge" department, or they already see the case in the german court as lost.

  • Re:Eh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @07:52AM (#39656361)

    That may be so but the point is still this, if a patent case fails in one country, but not in another, then in that country where it hasn't failed, the company making the patent infringement claim has demonstrated that the company being targetted has broken patent law in that particular country.

    The judge is now saying "I don't give a fuck about whether an American company breaks the law in another country, I only care if they play by our standards". That's not right, Microsoft has to play by German standards in Germany, not US standards so sorting it out at home basically says "Make a deal in the US to agree to ignore the fact either of you may be breaking the law in Germany". By saying this the judge is again trying to get US companies to not work according to German law. This might sound like no big deal, but what happens when Motorola and Microsoft are forced into a license deal that adheres to US standards then a German only company comes along and similarly infringes on the same patent? That German only company then has to deal with Motorola under only German law and not the potentially more favourable US law on the topic at hand - effectively the German company would be at a distinct disadvantage in brokering a licensing deal compared to Microsoft because the Microsoft deal was forced by a US judge to be carried out under conditions more favourable to Microsoft than the German law would've offered them.

    It may seem annoying that companies can go on fishing expeditions but it doesn't matter because each country has it's own laws and so that's precisely what should happen. It's not quite as bad as you make it seem though, as these things only work if the companies in question have a major business prescence in the country in question. It's not all 195 countries then for example, but only those where such law is worth pursuing which is a figure probably no more than 10 to 20 at most. Germany makes sense because it's a country in which Microsoft has one of it's two European headquarters and I believe a decent manufacturing prescence too, certainly my XBox was made in Germany.

  • Re:It's a fact (Score:5, Insightful)

    by silentcoder (1241496) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @08:56AM (#39657039) Homepage

    >but people like you ignore the good that we do for foreign nations, such as provide aid after a natural disaster

    And of course, the massive amounts of aid you yourself receive after disasters from other nations don't count ?
    Do you even know how much aid the USA received after Katrina ? Not just money but many other types of aid - for example the Dutch sent you a whole bunch of engineers with the kind of particular expertise in water and flood management that their dyke system requires and you didn't have to help fix things.

    Sorry, if the best thing you can say in your favor is something every other not-ruled-by-an-evil-dictator country on earth does then you're really nothing special.

    On the other hand, after the Japan quake facebook and twitter were filled with Americans complaining about your government sending aid to the Pearl Harbour guilty. Conveniently forgetting that:
    1) Japan has been a US ally for decades now
    2) A nuclear bomb is probably more than adequate justice for a harbor- you gave them two
    3) After Katrina Japan was the single largest monetary benefactor giving aid to YOU in YOUR hour of need.

    I don't hate Americans - hell I've been to America, I loved San Francisco. There's a lot of things wrong with your culture and your country but there's a lot of things wrong with all the others too.
    I don't think you deserve all the hate you get, but you certainly don't deserve the adoration you want either.

  • Re:It's a fact (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @03:08PM (#39664071)

    Speak for yourself. I hate them too, but I have no illusions that I'm in some kind of vast majority. Most people here only hate one side of the government (either the Democrats or the Republicans), and blame the other side for all the problems, instead of realizing that the two parties are really one in the same for the most part. Most people happily watch the media too, and get all their information from it (look how many people watch Fox News). And finally, look at how people vote: they vote for the mainstream candidates that the media encourages them to vote for, and they ignore the candidates that the media works hard at obscuring.

    Obviously, not all Americans are like this, but a majority certainly are, or else we wouldn't have the people in office that we do.

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys

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