Google's Moto-v-Microsoft appeal denied

Acted 'in bad faith' over WiFi, H.264 patents


A US appeals court has said that yes, Motorola/Google had chased Microsoft in bad faith over WiFi patents and that the Chocolate Factory still owes Redmond US$14 million.

In among the mass of messy patent litigation of recent years was a suit that saw Motorola sue over how much Microsoft should be paying it for using WiFi and H.264 patents.

That effort was continued by Google after it acquired Motorola Mobility, which it bought for the patent portfolio (flogging the bones of the company to Lenovo).

Originally Moto hoped its pound of Microsoft's flesh would amount to US$4 billion.

Part of Redmond's defence had been that first Moto and then Google were bound to offer the standards-essential patents on the usual reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms, and that's the position now endorsed by the appeals court.

The 9th Circuit's decision says that the district court was right to assess the payable royalty at just a few cents per device rather than Motorola's demand for dollars; and that Motorola had acted in bad faith.

Since there's far less enthusiasm in the industry at large for the kind of scorched-earth patent litigation that's taken up so much of the last decade, Google might just leave this action where it lies.

As PatentlyO notes, the main impact of this decision is to give some teeth to the RAND/FRAND agreements associated with standards-essential patents. ®


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