ITC (International Trade Commission) scheduled a ban on import of some Android-based Motorola devices in US. Motorola is accused of violating Microsoft’s patents. Microsoft signed a contract with Motorola in 2003, permitting the use of its Exchange ActiveSync Software in some of the latter’s android-based devices.
Exchange ActiveSync, compatible with many PDA devices, helps adding contacts, organizing meetings, sending requests and adding events to the calendar. Although, the contract terminated in 2007 with no renewal, Motorola persevered the use of this software in its devices. Motorola, which is seized by Google, is thus coerced to either remove the software from its devices or emit a software update, as the patent will expire in year 2018.
ITC assured that Motorola devices will not be imported and sold in US until the patent violation issue is solved. The products specifically aimed by ITC are: Motorola Atrix, Cliq XT, Defy, Devour, Droid 2, Droid Pro, Droid X, Backflip, Bravo, Charm, Cliq, Cliq 2, Droid X2, Flipout, Flipside, Spice, Xoom and Droid 2 Global. This inimical action by ITC will bring Google to great loss.
Will Google’s promise to maintain the availability of devices in US be fulfilled?
“In view of the ITC exclusion order which becomes effective Wednesday with respect to the single ActiveSync patent upheld in Microsoft’s ITC-744 proceeding, Motorola has taken proactive measures to ensure that our industry leading smartphones remain available to consumers in the U.S. We respect the value of intellectual property and expect other companies to do the same.” says Motorola.
Uncannily, the company did not elucidate these “pro-active measures”. When asked by BBC, Google refused to further comment on this situation.
“Microsoft brought this case only after Motorola stopped licensing our intellectual property but continued to use our inventions in its products. It’s unfortunate we’ve been forced to pursue legal action, but the solution for Motorola remains licensing our intellectual property at market rates as most other Android manufacturers have already done.” says David Howard, Microsoft’s general counsel.
“Any software preinstalled on those devices, whether it’s the client software communicating with the Google Calendar service or preloaded social networking apps, won’t be able to let users schedule meetings from those mobile devices,” says patent blogger Florian Mueller.
Previously, Motorola impeached Microsoft for infringing its patents. Consequently, ITC decided to put a ban on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 in US. The case is still not resolved. A similar situation came about when HTC claimed that Apple infringed its patents.
Also, this week, Motorola won a case where Apple requested to put a ban on Motorola’s smartphones like Xoomy in Germany. These conflicts need to be resolved as soon as possible. The stores will fall short of high profile gadgets otherwise.
Although Google has decided to remain silent, the fans are waiting for it to fight a rearguard action.