Microsoft has won a key legal battle in Germany in response to Motorola’s use of its patented technology. It represents the third lawsuit Microsoft has won over Google in recent months.
This week, a German court ruled that several Motorola tablets and phones infringed on Microsoft technology. Specifically, the patent covers the "soft input panel system and method.”
Google, which is the parent company of Motorola Mobility, is expected to appeal.
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In contrast to Google, Samsung, HTC and other companies pay Microsoft a license to use the technology.
Sales restrictions could be placed on Google products in Germany, or, it may have to make adequate changes to the Android operating system.
It comes as no surprise that Microsoft is happy with the latest ruling. "We're pleased this decision builds on previous rulings in Germany that have already found Motorola is broadly infringing Microsoft's intellectual property," Microsoft's deputy general counsel David Howard said. "We will continue to enforce injunctions against Motorola products in Germany and hope Motorola will join other Android device makers by taking a licence to Microsoft's patented inventions."
Meanwhile, Google said in its statement, "We are waiting for the written decision and are evaluating our options, including an appeal."
In its review of the case, The BBC noted that the technology in the lawsuit related “to an underlying feature of Android rather than a visual flourish. It might therefore be harder for Google to issue a software update to work around the issue rather than to agree to pay a license.”
In contrast with this case, in May, Google won a key victory against Microsoft after a German court ruled that stores in that country could not sell Microsoft's Xbox 360 games consoles, the Windows 7 operating system, the Internet Explorer browser and Windows Media Player. That ban has yet to be enforced because of decision by a judge in the United States.
In conjunction with this week’s ruling in Germany, the Foss Patents blog said Google “suffered a strategically very important defeat.”
“In my opinion, this is by far and away the technically most impactful patent, apart from standard-essential patents, to have been enforced against anyone in the smartphone patent wars,” Foss Patents added.
“The kinds of patents Apple has enforced so far, which are mostly multitouch-related, are much easier to work around than this one. It remains to be seen how long it will take Google to make the necessary changes.”
Based on these and other cases, Germany has become a key battleground for patent disputes.
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