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Microsoft patent fears lead to distribution move

Microsoft is moving its European software distribution centre out of Germany to the Netherlands to avoid the risk of having its products banned in the country if it loses a patent lawsuit later this month

A court in Mannheim is set to rule on April 17 in a case filed by Motorola against the computer software company. Motorola claims that Microsoft has infringed one of its patents for video technology.

At the moment, arvato, owned by Bertelsmann, distributes software in Europe for Microsoft.

“We have a great relationship with arvato and we are pleased with the quality of their service,” said Microsoft spokesman in an emailed statement. “But Motorola’s refusal to live up to its patent promises has left us no choice. We would have preferred to keep our European distribution center with arvato in Germany as it has been for many years, but unfortunately the risk of disruption from Motorola’s patent litigation is simply too high.”

The company’s decision has highlighted the differences in patent law practices between Germany and some of its neighbours. The country’s judges have a reputation for being more willing to grant injunctions than colleagues in courts outside Germany.

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