Microsoft wins patent injunction against Google in German court

September 20, 2012
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Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility was dealt a serious blow today when Microsoft won its third injunction against the company in German court. Two rulings were won; one against Motorola Mobility Inc, and one against its German subsidiary.

Judge Dr. Peter Guntz of the Munich I Regional Court announced the ruling earlier today, explaining that Android infringes on Microsoft’s patent for a “soft input panel system and method.” Essentially, this boils down to applications being able to receive input from multiple sources, such as keyboard or voice input, without the app having to manually figuring out where the input is coming from.

Many apps use this functionality, and unlike other Android device manufacturers, Motorola is not paying a license fee to Microsoft for using it. In addition to the German injunction, Microsoft is also pursuing this issue in the U.S. in the Western District of Washington.

This is far from the first time that Microsoft has brought legal action against Motorola. Earlier this year, Microsoft enforced an import ban in the U.S. against Motorola over a patent related to meeting scheduling, and has won two prior injunctions against the company in Germany. Both injunctions related to Microsoft patents: one for multi-part SMS messages, and another relating to a file system patent.

Microsoft’s David Howard had this to say: “We will continue to enforce injunctions against Motorola products in Germany and hope Motorola will join other Android device makers by taking a license to Microsoft’s patented inventions.” Microsoft can post a bond of a total of 75 million euros to enforce the two rulings, and can  enforce a recall for another 10 million.

The injunction can be appealed, so it is very likely that Google will take action to appeal the ruling.

With all the recent patent litigation, do you think it’s starting to get out of hand?

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