Judge Pares Google’s Patent Claims in Microsoft Suit

Published on February 8, 2013
by John Paczkowski

“Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.”
— Google CEO Larry Page

lawsuits_380-featureIf the driving motivation behind Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility truly was the company’s patent arsenal, the search behemoth isn’t seeing much return on its investment.

This week, Google’s Motorola Mobility division was dealt yet another setback in its ongoing intellectual property spat with Microsoft, when a judge gutted some of the patent claims it had asserted against the software company.

On Thursday in Seattle, U.S. District Judge James Robart issued an order invalidating more than a dozen claims across three patents Google asserted against Microsoft. All three patents cover technology related to the encoding and decoding of digital video, and while Robart determined some of their claims to be legitimate (for now), he found that 13 were not specific enough to be brought to bear in this case.

And so he granted Microsoft’s motion for partial summary judgment, tossing those 13 claims. Robart’s decision significantly narrows the case, and bodes well for Microsoft, which claims that Google has failed to make the patents at issue available on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

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