Ina Fried

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Microsoft Says Ruling in Motorola Case Will Prevent an Injunction, at Least for Now

If all of these smartphone patent cases have you feeling a bit overwhelmed, you are not alone.

Among the many, many cases out there are several between Microsoft and Motorola — a dispute that spans multiple continents.

Microsoft said on Wednesday that a federal judge has agreed that Motorola should not be able to stop Microsoft from shipping products in Germany until after the U.S. courts have decided whether Motorola lived up to its promise to license necessary patents fairly and reasonably. Redmond says Motorola hasn’t been playing nice in that regard, and has complained to the European Union. EU officials say they are considering taking action.

Wednesday’s ruling by the Seattle judge comes ahead of one expected next week from a judge in Mannheim, Germany.

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

So, they got an injunction preventing Motorola from getting an injunction (or at least from enforcing any injunction they get.)

A Motorola representative also provided a statement: “As a result of today’s hearing, Microsoft has committed to take a license under MMI’s patents essential to certain standards, in the event the court determines that Microsoft is entitled to a RAND-based license. Our focus from the outset has been to receive fair value for our intellectual property based on Microsoft’s use of (Motorola’s) patented technology.”

Microsoft is expected to have to post a $100 million bond in the case as part of Wednesday’s ruling.

Meanwhile, if you need something other than Microsoft v. Motorola to keep you busy, don’t forget the battles between Apple and Samsung, Apple and HTC and Oracle and Google, to name just some of the big cases out there.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work