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Microsoft Patents EU XBox (Games)

German Court Grants Motorola Xbox and Windows 7 Sales Ban 163

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the google-subsidiaries-may-do-infinte-evil dept.
First time accepted submitter Celexi writes "In a surprising move, Motorola Mobility (which is to be taken over by Google), has won an injunction preventing the distribution of Windows 7 and the Xbox in Germany until Microsoft starts paying royalty fees for the patents Microsoft is said to be infringing (two patents used to display H.264 video). The ruling is suspended as of now because of a restraining order, the effect in the rest of the EU and U.S. if the ban is enforced if the restraining order is lifted, is unclear." This could go into effect as soon as May 7th, pending the result of the next U.S. case hearing.
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German Court Grants Motorola Xbox and Windows 7 Sales Ban

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  • In a surprising move, Motorola Mobility (which is to be taken over by Google), has won an injunction preventing the distribution of Windows 7 and the Xbox in Germany until Microsoft starts paying royalty fees for the patents

    They are unhappy that Microsoft is, legally and reasonably, getting almost 1 billion an year from various other Android manufacturers because they are using Microsoft licensed technology. After Google acquired Motorola I've been sure and waiting for them to try to hit back at Microsoft and Apple. Motorola is good for Google because it acts as both proxy in patent wars (so that Google name itself doesn't get the damage) and because then Google can control the whole Android infrastructure from the OS to devic

    • by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @10:57AM (#39868077)

      legally and reasonably

      Legally maybe, but reasonably?

      Microsoft licensed technology

      Were you cheering for them as they trolled companies using Linux and demanded they pay for "Linux licenses?"

      At least use MeeGo or something similar open

      And if you were even remotely successful Microsoft would still threaten you. Patents are just one of Microsoft's weapons to wield against competitors.

      • This was dumb, assuming Google bought this patent from Motorolla as MS has a huge patent portfolio. Samsung is fine and wont be assholes to you unless you pull an Apple and try to ban its products. Then it got really nasty.

        MS has not threatened Google and its patent fees from Andriod makers are only .02% according to Ars Technica. They have no intention of starting a war. But Google will soon see Redmond firing its guns claiming IP over exchange synch ability, and many other IP and copyrighted standards. Bi

        • by dehole (1577363)
          Google's implementation of the Android API's are not a clean room implementation, they actually referenced JAVA's API's while creating it. But if API's are copyrightable... then we have problems.
          • Clean-room in this case means without using any code from Oracle's Java implementation.

            It's a bit like how Mono relates to .NET - the surface looks the same, but that's where the similarity/sharing ends.

            • by JimCanuck (2474366) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @01:13PM (#39870093)

              Clean room software engineering is supposed to be only knowing the inputs and outputs of the piece of software your trying to implement, without any inside knowledge of the source code.

              This is how companies like Award, Phoenix and Compaq got away with cloning the IBM BIOS on the original IBM PC's as they used programmers and engineers who had never seen a copy of the code itself, and instead only provided them with "Input Command X results in Y if condition Z is met" type of documentation.

              Reading the code and then rewriting it to do the exact same thing has been a violation of software copyrights since the 1980's when many companies tried to do that to the IBM BIOS, the legality of doing what your implying in court cases has already been shown to be illegal for the last 3 decades or so.
              • And IBM lost.

                Compaq was allowed to prevail. Clean room was the norm afterwards and made clones possible.


                • IBM didn't go after Compaq after they knew Compaq built the BIOS in a clean room environment, but they did go after a few other companies that just tried to copy the BIOS right out of the technical manuals IBM provided about the IBM PC.

                  IBM's goal was never to limit clone building, far from it, they rather supported it, they just refused to allow others to use their source code. IBM needed to standardize the desktop market as quickly as possible, because of their issues with clients purchasing their mini-c
              • Reading the code and then rewriting it to do the exact same thing

                Is not what Google did - they only read the API, which I believe is a defined standard. Think WINE - implements the Win32 API without the devs ever seeing a single line of Win32 source.

                • by exomondo (1725132)

                  Is not what Google did - they only read the API

                  How do you know that? Nothing stops them reading the source.

                  Think WINE - implements the Win32 API without the devs ever seeing a single line of Win32 source.

                  The obvious difference is that Win32 is closed source, Java is not. So WINE developers could not have seen Win32 source where Google's developers most certainly could have seen Java source.

        • patent fees from Andriod makers are only .02% according to Ars Technica

          You know, that phrase almost means something.

        • by Rasperin (1034758)
          Microsoft has been attacking Google from left and right over Android, (hugely) it's search, it's email, etc. They are a huge backer to many of the lawsuits that have come up against Google. However, I agree with you I expect Microsoft to up it's game against Google with this lawsuit.
        • by Kalriath (849904)

          Google has an Exchange ActiveSync license, so... um, yeah. As does Apple, actually.

      • SO many of these patent claims seem to be the same ones. Didn't motorola just get slapped down for trying to impose restrictions on FRAND granted H264 patents in some other case? it's all so confusing. I need a chart.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Worth noting that Google had nothing to do with this, Motorola was in this legal dispute long before they were acquired.

    • You can also always create your own OS.

      You'd certainly save money that way by not needing to create and app store or even publish an API due to zero demand.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by poetmatt (793785)

      Wow, you really don't put much effort into the pro-MS/anti google posting, huh? Couldn't even hold until the 9th word, doing the first post on the article, *and* couldn't hint about being pro-microsoft about 4 times, right?

      using a patent shakedown for extortion with manufacturers is legal and reasonable? Getting a billion a year though would certainly be in the realm of antitrust concerns though. Why do you think MS just settled with B&N for more than B&N was worth? Hint: it wasn't to work with them

      • Android vendors were worried google would give preference to Motorola, not "google's plans". As of so far, google is simply carrying on doing what it does day to day and not giving Motorola priority.

        Google will very likely never give preference to Motorola, not because they are pure hearted and follow their "Do no evil" motto, but more because this isn't their primarry market.

        Google at its core is a *search company*. A company whose skill is matching keywords to the best suited results, and it monetises these skills by turning them the other way around: by bringing the most relevant and likely to be useful ad to the users. They profit from ads.

        Anything else they develop is ancillary, and from a financi

        • by poetmatt (793785)

          I agree, 100%. It's just not important to them. I didn't mean to tie it to the question of evil-ness or not, I was just trying to de-fud a fudster. Also having such a focus puts them into a *proper* focus for everything else. It's kind of a nice thing. It's like setting your priorities right from the start.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by awrowe (1110817)

      Oh yeah, cos Microsoft can be trusted, they have proved that repeatedly over the years.

      Good ole trustworthy Microsoft

      I'm neither a Google fanboy or a Microsoft shill. I like Google as a company and I enjoy a lot of their products and I use a lot of Microsoft products as well. The only thing these companies can be trusted to do is look after their bottom line. Any other community based action they take is a plus and has an expected life span of about a millisecond. You could turn around and find it gone with

    • by Jeng (926980) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:13AM (#39868269)

      Ok, so you submit stories under one name, create a new account, and then post the very second the article is submitted.

      We get it, you have an agenda you want to promote, but you don't want to do it under your own account because it is already known you are just a shill and this makes it harder to ignore you.

      I just have one request, fuck off.

      Slashdot Editors, if you continue to be apparently complicit in helping him push his agenda then people will quit having discussions on this site. It will badly damage /.'s reputation and in the end your bottom line.

    • by norteo (779244)
      As a software developer, I say, so far, "Reasonably" and "microsoft" have never really made sense in the same sentence. Microsoft is dieing on his own poison. Microsoft may not have its own hardware manufacturer but has control over many. why does everything come installed with windows? I would say the ones creating their own OS are Microsoft. Windows is the different one. And it is a design choice. Prety much everything else si some form of unix derivative. That includes Apple OSX. I do not think It is "re
    • You look a lot like a shill right now, brand new user with two wildly pro-MS comments.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by nschubach (922175)

        Maybe Slashdot needs to make an update to the posting algorithm:
        You may not respond directly to a story unless your karma is excellent. You can respond to other posts, but never to a story.

        • So then we get shills posting off-topic replies to the first post. It doesn't really solve much.
          • by nschubach (922175)

            Eh, it does sort of solve the anonymous first posters and these shill accounts. They can be modded off-topic pretty easily and the experienced users would have a way to steer the conversations a bit more than relying on the first troll.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by LeDopore (898286)

          How about no ACs, no super-new accounts (newest 2%?) and no non-excellent-karma accounts in the first 5 replies to a story? Then newbies wouldn't be forced into top-posting, but trolls still couldn't get in the first word.

    • This started before Google was involved, retard.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @10:54AM (#39868033)

    Nice to see Apple yet again resorting to the courts to... What's that? It's not Apple using the courts to stifle competition? It's sweet-and-dear Motorola/Google? Oh... Awkward...

    • by Galestar (1473827) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:01AM (#39868111)
      It's awkward that they are fighting back? Do you have any idea why Google started purchasing Motorola in the first place? So they can counter strike against MS and Apple. I for one cheer them on - maybe now that MS and Apple are under attack maybe they can come to some sort of compromise, get out of the courts and get back to building products.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by squiggleslash (241428)

      No, it's Motorola. Google hasn't bought Motorola yet, and there's no evidence they're either in favor of Motorola's actions or against them.

      I know, you already knew that, I'm correcting you so that people who don't know who paid for your post know it.

  • Not really. (Score:2, Insightful)

    In a surprising move

    I don't see what's so surprising about it.
    Google has proven quite a few times as of late it's just as bad as every other company.
    So why wouldn't they pull a move often used by every other bad company?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm sure if Google(Motorola) unilaterally disarms MS and Apple would retreat from their lawsuits/demand for trivialities from Android phone manufacturers.

      I think everyone on Slashdot agrees that the end game should be patent reform. If that's not achievable, detente. But the problem with this foolishness is that the only way to defend your company from it is more foolish lawsuits.

    • Whaaaaaaa (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:17AM (#39868317)

      Microsoft gets $15 per Android handset for patents so weak they won't reveal in public. So if Google sticks it to Microsoft the world is a better place and good on them.

      To use Microsoft's own phrase "Whaaaaaaaa".

      Don't dish it out if you can't take it.

      • Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to see Microsoft get a taste of their own medicine.
        I just fail to see why anything in this news is "surprising"
      • Microsoft gets $15 per Android handset for patents so weak they won't reveal in public. So if Google sticks it to Microsoft the world is a better place and good on them.

        To use Microsoft's own phrase "Whaaaaaaaa".

        Don't dish it out if you can't take it.

        Quoted for fucking emphasis and violent agreement.
        Microsoft, may this be a big "fuck you" from all the Android licensees.

      • by houghi (78078)

        No, the world is NOT a better place. Unless you are either Google or Microsoft, that is.

        The patent system is still broken.

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        Won't reveal in public? Patents are public.

    • What are you talking about? You do believe in self-defense, right? Microsoft has been running around suing Android manufacturers for patent infringementâ"that's why MS paid $300 million to BN for a share of the Nook business: to settle the lawsuit. Google has to stop Microsoft from hindering the development of Android so why not fight fire with fire?

    • Re:Not really. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jkrise (535370) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:22AM (#39868371) Journal

      So why wouldn't they pull a move often used by every other bad company?

      The bad company here is Microsoft, making billions on Android, an OS which it did zilch to build. So Google is hitting back in self defense. Don't get our panties in a twist, yet.

    • by ArhcAngel (247594)
      Microsoft has been threatening to sue hardware OEMs that sell devices loaded with Android despite the fact Google/Linus own the licenses of the software Microsoft is alleging infringe on their IP. If Motorola/Google can get Microsoft into a cross-licensing deal it would indemnify anyone using Android and Microsoft couldn't nickel and dime each and every OEM. I'd say it was to be expected.

      What would you do if a bully was scaring and shaking down all of your customers?
    • For the love of...

      GOOGLE. DOES. NOT. OWN. MOTOROLA. YET.

      it even implies it in the summary. WTH?

    • So why wouldn't they pull a move often used by every other bad company?

      Has everyone on this thread gone brain dead? Microsoft sued Motorola for patent infringement, so Motorola sued back. Microsoft lost, as it should, as it is the company who always chooses to litigate rather than innovate.

      Microsoft has no one to blame but themselves.

      • I did not understand that it was a counter-suit (so thank you for that), but I never once stated that Microsoft was in the right either.
        Seems most comments here misinterpreted my comment as saying such.
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @10:56AM (#39868065) Journal

    All I have to say is I told you so.

    Like Motorolla would be happy letting you download and use a HTML 5 browser for free. Obviously you simply can't.

    With this and the potential ruling that merely syntax is copyrightable in the Oracle VS Google case 2 things will happen. Either people will see how rediculious patents and copyright are and change. Or the bribery will continue and no one but big pockets will compete. Hell, MS has big pockets and still are getting nailed. This is getting nuts.

    It seems China and India are the only ones not crazy here.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      I tried playing WebM on my iPod, generic Bestbuy player, radio, CD/MP3 player, and TV.
      Didn't work. Didn't work. Didn't work.
      Didn't work. Didn't work.

      I would no sooner adopt WebM than I would throw-away my VHS VCR and go buy Betamax?!?!? As for this ruling the REAL surprise is that a U.S. judge has the power to overrule and "restrain" a German court's decision. When did Germany become a protectorate of the U.S.? Is this some leftover from the war? (In the same fashion the U.S. forbade Japan to hav

      • The US judge cannot overturn the German judge decision. He can however fine Motorola in the US if they enforced the ban in Germany. This is exactly what he needed to do to prevent Motorola's strategy of "get products banned in a big market and force them to settle for the whole world despite the fact that we would ultimately lose if they wait it out"

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I tried playing WebM on my iPod, generic Bestbuy player, radio, CD/MP3 player, and TV.

        Most of those devices weren't designed to play html5 video. So, while we can agree that h.264 is more widespread it's not such a big deal if we start using something else for the web.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Like Motorolla would be happy letting you download and use a HTML 5 browser for free. Obviously you simply can't.

      Well, you can if you use the built-in licensed decoder.

      An interesting question is the details - h.264, unlike cellphones, is licensed under a patent pool. That you, you can either do like we have in cellphones and license all the patents one-by-one (have fun!), or decide to license the whole group of them together in one fell swoop. This is done because the MPEG standards group created the MPEG l

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As funny as this is, It really is just a further argument for why Software patents should be eradicated once and for all.

    • Re:Software patents (Score:4, Informative)

      by AwaxSlashdot (600672) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:20AM (#39868343) Homepage Journal

      Those are not software patents. WiFi and H.264 are not software.

      • by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @01:43PM (#39870477) Homepage

        Despite having "software" in the name, "software patents" include all patents on algorithms and protocols—anything which can be implemented in software—of which WiFi and H.264 are obvious examples. So long as the patent would cover a software implementation, it's a software patent; the fact that any software can also be implemented in fixed hardware is irrelevant.

        If the patent only covers a particular was of implementing the algorithm or protocol in hardware, and thus would not apply to any software implementation, then it's still an unjust act of aggression, and a net loss to society, but it's not a software patent.

      • by idontgno (624372)

        Please. Go ahead and implement those in pure hardware. I'll wait.

        (This should be good. I've never seen schematics that big.)

  • The open source community is highly reluctant to use h264 because they are concerned that Microsoft (Among others, but princibly their historical enemy Microsoft) would do something like that. Now Microsoft is on the receiving end.
  • Doesn't mean jack (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:14AM (#39868279)

    Seriously, ponder for a moment what would happen if Nebraska decided to ban MS products. Well? Right. People from Nebraska wanting MS products will buy them outside Nebraska.

    It's not much different for the EU.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ha ha, good one! We all know that there are no computers in Nebraska. Nice try.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      It's pretty massively different, because having to go outside one's state is a nuisance. Having to go outside one's country is an even bigger one. There are all kinds of logistic reasons why that's a PITA. Additional taxes in the EU, for one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:17AM (#39868315)

    The Motorola / Google deal hasn't closed yet, until it does Google can not control legally Motorola. Let Google take control of the company before you start blaming them. Motorola is struggling tech company with a lot IP so it really shouldn't surprise anyone that it turned to IP litigation just like so many other tech companies on their way out. Until Google takes over this is Motorola hedging in case the merger falls through.

    • However, in the current acquisition process, Motorola can take no action without the explicit consent of Google, especially for legal actions (suing or granting licenses) because those actions would be binding to Google after the acquisition.

      • by FreeUser (11483)

        However, in the current acquisition process, Motorola can take no action without the explicit consent of Google, especially for legal actions (suing or granting licenses) because those actions would be binding to Google after the acquisition.

        True, but didn't Motorola start this litagion before the merger was agreed? In which case, they wouldn't have needed, or sought, Google's approval.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      Funny that when it suits /., things like this are pointed out, yet when it's reversed (eg, when MS bought Skype and Skype did something "anti-Linux" before MS took control) then it is all attributed to whatever evil empire is currently en vogue. It was totally fine then - in fact, it was aggressively pointed out, and promoted as "typical" MS tactics and that thinking that MS was *not* involved was "naive". But this time it's different, right?

      For the record, you're probably right - this was Motorola's attemp

  • oh, if only there was a patent-free video codec [webmproject.org] available for general use instead of that horrible h.264 system that evil companies like Microsoft want to force other companies like Google to use.

    oh, wait... umm. Well, at least this gives Google some ammunition to prove that they should convert all of Youtube to WebM before they get sued by, umm. errm... oh lord, it's so difficult to know which way's up in the world of IT now!

  • Retalliation (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bertNO@SPAMslashdot.firenzee.com> on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:26AM (#39868415) Homepage

    Aren't Motorola acting in self defense? As i understand it, MS has been trying to shake down android handset manufacturers for a while and motorola are one of the few that refused to give in to their demands.

    • Everyone will have prevented everyone else from selling anything.

      And we'll all end up living in caves eating rats.

      And paying Monsanto for the privilege thanks to the rats having mutated from ingesting Monsanto-proprietary DNA.

    • They are but their position is weak (using FRAND patents)

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      Yes, definitely, but they have sunk to the position of using FRAND patents to do the job, which is somewhat questionable.

      If nothing else it will ensure that any standards body in the future will think long and hard before accepting any new submissions from them on future standards, so it will hurt them (and anyone owned by them) in the long run for a bit of short term gain. The point of the FRAND pool was to prevent exactly this sort of thing from happening, but it does depend on the various submitting memb

    • Perhaps Motorola is acting in self-defense, but that's not the point. The problem is that these companies are all setting precedents and creating a status quo that will make software development illegal in the long run -- if this patent madness continues. Yes, the big companies may have MAD and manage to settle most issues out of court, but in the course of it the absurd patent situation will become more and more accepted by courts and legislators up to the point that no small software company will be able

  • by jonwil (467024) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:32AM (#39868483)

    how a court ruling in a US court has any bearing on the German legal system and why the German legal system (and whichever authorities are responsible for enforcing the decision by the German judge) has to even care what the US court said and cant just say "screw the US, we are going to enforce the ban starting right now"

    Or is there some sort of international treaty that applies here?

    • by Sc4Freak (1479423)

      The German courts and legal system doesn't listen to the US judge. That much is patently obvious, because the US has no jurisdiction in Germany.

      But Motorola is a US company who does business in the US. Hence it must abide by US laws and rulings. The US judge said to Motorola, "even if you win the case in Germany, you must not follow through on the ban on MS products in Germany until I have made my ruling here." That doesn't infringe on German jurisdiction.

      • Since Motorola does business in Germany also, what's to prevent the German court from imposing (stiffer) penalties on Motorola Germany for NOT abiding by the German ruling? Seems two can play that legal game, and then Motorola is in a Catch 22.

        • by alexo (9335)

          Since Motorola does business in Germany also, what's to prevent the German court from imposing (stiffer) penalties on Motorola Germany for NOT abiding by the German ruling?

          The German ruling allows Motorola to enforce a ban, it does not require them to do so.

  • I'm thinking that, in the end, nobody really comes out ahead in these tit-for-tat lawsuits.
  • I'd ban the "Motorola Xbox" too! It doesn't sound like a legitimate product to me,........

  • "NO MICROSOFT FOR YOU!" -- The Software Nazi

    M

    PS - I tried all caps, but I got a filter error telling me, "Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING" What if that's what I want to do? Apparently adding this post script took care of my yelling issue.

  • Motorola has decided to not apply due to the ruling due to the restraining order in the US and potential retaliation from US courts. That is quite different, as there is no way in hell an US court can restrain the function of a german one.
  • if Google has the h264 patents couldn't they just offer it free of charge instead of developing their own version?

    • There are many patents that apply here. Moto only owns a few - just enough to make life difficult for anyone else (especially since, apparently, they're not part of the license pool?).

  • I'm confused. I thought the purpose for MPEG-LA was a cross licensing of all patents required for h.264 (with payment)?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC#Standardization_committee_and_history [wikipedia.org]

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