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Jury finds against Google in FRAND case

A jury in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington has awarded Microsoft more than $14 million in damages and costs in its FRAND dispute with Motorola (now owned by Google)

The eight-person jury unanimously found this week that Motorola had breached its contractual commitments to standards bodies the IEEE and ITU after less than four hours of deliberation.

The commitments concern the licensing of standard-essential patents.

As a result of Motorola’s legal action, Microsoft relocated a distribution centre in Germany and the jury awarded it $11,492,686 in compensation, about half of what Microsoft was seeking.

It also awarded £3,031,720 in attorney fees and litigation costs.

The decision is part of a long-running battle between the two companies over standard-essential patents in the Western District.

In April this year, Judge James L Robart issued a judgment ordering Microsoft to pay Motorola Mobility $1.8 million a year for the use of standard-essential patents relating to the H.264 video standard and the 802.11 wireless standard, well below what Motorola had demanded.

Microsoft argued before the jury that Motorola breached its standards obligations because its demands were “wildly excessive”, “completely unfounded” and “commercially unreasonable”.

Microsoft’s corporate vice president and deputy general counsel David Howard said in a statement: “This is a landmark win for all who want products that are affordable and work well together. The jury's verdict is the latest in a growing list of decisions by regulators and courts telling Google to stop abusing patents.”

Motorola said it would appeal the decision, stating: “We're disappointed in this outcome, but look forward to an appeal of the new legal issues raised in this case. In the meantime, we'll focus on building great products that people love.”

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