The legal battle between Microsoft and Motorola continues to heat up, and Motorola has scored one symbolic victory that could serve as a bargaining chip in company negotiations. A court in Mannheim, Germany ruled today that various Microsoft products infringe on Motorola patents due to their video compression technology -- including the Xbox 360.
Time reports that this would ordinarily mean those products would be pulled from shelves, but a ruling in a US court in April preemptively ordered Motorola not to enforce the German ban if it were granted. That order is based on a pending ruling in a related patent dispute in Seattle, scheduled to take place on May 7.
Plus, Reuters reports that Microsoft had already moved its European distribution center to the Netherlands to be on the safe side. All in all, the actual customers shouldn't feel an impact while the two companies sort out their dispute.
The April ruling was also in Motorola's favor. The legal volleying has been bouncing between the companies; Motorola's own patent claim (H.264) was in retaliation for Microsoft hitting the company with an infringement case against its Android phones. Back-to-back victories for Motorola will probably give the company more weight to throw around for a settlement, but for now don't worry too much about not finding an Xbox 360 in your favorite German shop.
"This is one step in a long process, and we are confident that Motorola will eventually be held to its promise to make its standard essential patents available on fair and reasonable terms for the benefit of consumers who enjoy video on the web," said Microsoft in a statement. "Motorola is prohibited from acting on today's decision, and our business in Germany will continue as usual while we appeal this decision and pursue the fundamental issue of Motorola’s broken promise."