Motorola Mobility and Microsoft Corp. went to the International Trade Commission court in Washington on Monday in the first patent battle that will take place since Google announced its plan to buy Motorola.
Microsoft is alleging that Motorola is infringing on a number of basic patents from data synchronization methods to signal strength and battery power notifications, and has requested an ITC import ban on the popular Droid 2 and Droid X smartphones, in addition to several other Motorola devices.
In an email to Bloomberg, David Howard, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for litigation in Microsoft Corp.'s Law and Corporate Affairs Department, expressed his confidence in Microsoft's side of the case.
“We have a responsibility to our employees, customers, partners and shareholders to safeguard our intellectual property,” said Howard. “Motorola is infringing our patents and we are confident that the ITC will rule in our favor.”
Meanwhile, Motorola is also pursuing a counter-suit, according to Chief Communications Officer Jennifer Erickson.
“We have also brought legal actions of our own in the U.S. and in Europe to address Microsoft’s large scale of infringement of Motorola Mobility’s patents,” said Erickson via email, in addition to assuring Bloomberg that the company was “vigorously defending” itself “against Microsoft’s patent attack business strategy.”
The strategy is hardly Microsoft's alone; most of the major companies in the smartphone and tablet market are involved in patent disputes as plaintiff and/ or defendant. Currently, Google's Andoid OS has the largest market share and has also been a major target for lawsuits, with Apple Corp. and Microsoft mainly going after device manufacturers such as Motorola, HTC, Samsung and others.
Google's $12.5 Billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility has been considered chiefly motivated by the need to defend Google against such patent suits, and the ITC case will be the first to take place since the deal was proposed. The investigation is scheduled to continue throughout Nov. 4, when Administrative Law Judge Theodore Essex plans to release the commission's initial findings, with a planned deadline of March 5, 2012.
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