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By 12 April 2012 | Categories: news

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Microsoft has scored a victory in its patent war with Motorola Mobility, after being granted a temporary restraining order as well as a preliminary injunction against the Google-owned smartphone and tablet maker.

According to the FOSS Patent blog, the US District Court for the Western District of Washington  granted the court order to Microsoft this week. This order prevents Motorola Mobility from legally enforcing a patent injunction that it might win in Mannheim next week, in its German patent lawsuit case against Microsoft.

Motorola is attempting to obtain injunctions preventing the sale of Microsoft (as well as Apple) products in Germany such as the Windows 7 operating system (OS) and Xbox 360 game console. This German lawsuit is based upon patents the company holds for the H.264 video codec standard.

Both Apple and Microsoft have lodged complaints with the European Commission, since Motorola previously declared these video patents as essential to produce standard-compliant products. It further committed to license them on a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) basis. As a result, the EU Commission has launched two antitrust investigations into the patent practices of Motorola.  

The legal tiff between the Redmond-based software giant and Motorola Mobility kicked off in October 2010, when Microsoft filed a lawsuit against Motorola over its Android-based smartphones. This sparked off a legal tit-for-tat with Motorola countering with its own lawsuit against Microsoft, claiming infringements of 16 of its patents within Redmond’s PC and Server software, Windows mobile software as well as Xbox products.

“Motorola promised to make its patents available to Microsoft and other companies on fair and reasonable terms. Today’s ruling means Motorola can’t prevent Microsoft from selling products until the court decides whether Motorola has lived up to its promise,” said David Howard, deputy general counsel for Microsoft.

In related news, Microsoft recently made moves to bolster its patent arsenal after entering into a definitive agreement with AOL to purchase 800 patents, along with the relevant patent applications, to the tune of $1.056 billion in cash.

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