While our attention has been concentrated on Apple’s numerous battles against everything and anything Android, a different patent war saw some interesting results last month.
Microsoft managed to hit hard on Motorola after a two-year legal brawl that for some reason didn’t get much media attention. As a result, Moto was forced to stop imports of several of its Android-powered smartphones and tablets in the US.
The ITC (International Trade Commision) ruling was made a few weeks back, but the actual ban started yesterday, when theoretically the borders should have been closed for Motorola. Why “apparently” and “theoretically”? Well, because it seems that Google’s subsidiary will not be much affected by the import ban after all. as “Motorola has taken proactive measures to ensure that our industry leading smartphones remain available to consumers in the U.S.”.
Unfortunately, Moto’s officials didn’t care to expand on that position, which is why we’re forced to guess exactly how did the company manage to avoid the negative effects of the ruling.
There are only two possible explanations, however, for Motorola’s “proactive measures”, so there isn’t much mystery surrounding the issue after all. The most plausible one is that the company imported enough of the banned devices over the past couple of weeks to ensure that there won’t be any supply issues in the US.
That’s a very likely explanation, due to the fact that Motorola is only forbidden to bring its devices into the States, and not sell them. Also, the company only needed to pay 33 cents per infringing unit over the last weeks, which is far less than what it would have had to pay Microsoft in order to settle the issue and lift the ban.
If we take a look at the list of forbidden devices, we can get a pretty good picture of how Motorola didn’t actually have to spend a whole lot to import enough devices to satisfy US demand. The Atrix, Backflip, Bravo, Charm, Cliq, Cliq 2, Cliq XT, Defy, Devour, Droid 2, Droid 2 Global, Droid Pro, Droid X, Droid X2, Flipout, Flipside, Spice, and Xoom are not exactly best sellers in the States right now, so we can’t imagine Motorola had to import huge quantities.
The second maneuver that could have possibly got Motorola out of the loop is a simple software tweak applied to the infringing devices. And while that doesn’t seem like a very easy task, as there are no less than 18 gadgets that would have needed a software makeover, the feature found to have been copyright infringed from Microsoft is not an overly complex one and could quickly be wiped out from the devices’ ROMs.
Whether Motorola went for plan A or plan B, one very important thing is clear nevertheless. US tech users won’t notice any supply shortages for any of Motorola’s smartphones or tablets anytime soon, which, to be honest, is all we are interested in when talking about such legal quarrels.
Then again, the Motorola-Microsoft conflict could explode soon, as both companies are planning to go after devices the opponent’s high-profile devices (including Xbox 360 consoles and Razr Maxx smartphones). Keep in touch with our website to find out if there’s any need to hurry up and buy any of Motorola or Microsoft’s gadgets before they start disappearing from stores.
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