Motorola's Xbox ban rejected by US court

By Steve Watts, Dec 04, 2012 9:00am PST

Motorola's bid to ban Xbox 360 sales in the US due to a patent dispute has failed, after a judge ruled that the the patents in question were critical to industry standards. Federal Judge James Robart found that Motorola's patents must offer fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory licenses. Because of that, he ruled that a console ban could not be imposed.

The BBC (via Gamasutra) reports that the ruling came as a result of Motorola claims that Microsoft should be forced to pay up to $4 billion per year for its use of a video coding format. Microsoft, in response, has argued that it should only have to pay $1 million. Robart also indicated that whatever outstanding debts are owed to Motorola can be added to the bill at the end of the trial.

Motorola had previously won its patent dispute, and the threat of a ban was a sizable bargaining chip in the companies' negotiations over licensing fees. After an International Trade Commission judge recommended a ban, various tech companies backed Microsoft in the dispute. Microsoft subsequently rejected Motorola's settlement offer of a 2.25% royalty on every Xbox 360 sold.

The case now turns to licensing fees. Microsoft isn't arguing that a fee isn't owed, so all that remains is for an amount to be determined. Whatever the result, at least you'll still be able to find Xbox 360s in stores for the foreseeable future.

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