German Court Grants Motorola Injunction Against Windows 7, Xbox
There’s some potentially bad news for Microsoft in Germany; the Mannheim Regional Court has awarded Motorola an injunction that could effectively block all sales of Windows 7 and the Xbox 360 in Germany. The whole case revolves around a pair of patents that Motorola Mobility holds, concerning “adaptive motion compensation” and “adaptive compression of digital video data.” The court found that Microsoft’s Media Player, Internet Explorer, and Xbox 360 all infringe on the patents held by Motorola, and the resulting injunction blocks the distribution of the infringing products and allows Motorola — in theory — to order the destruction of all physical copies of Windows 7 and any Xbox 360s currently for sale in the country. Whether or not the injunction will actually be enforced, however, is another point of contention entirely.
Before Motorola can act on this injunction and do anything fun like order the destruction of thousands of game consoles, they’ll have to wait for Microsoft’s appeal to play out. Microsoft, you see, has the opportunity to appeal this injunction to a higher court and since the injunction could still be overturned, Motorola isn’t allowed to actually act on it until the appeals court confirms its validity. There is, however, one way around this. If Motorola really, really wanted to act on the injunction now and was absolutely certain the ruling would be in their favor, they could pony up money to ensure that if the injunction is overturned, Microsoft would be compensated for the loss of revenue. In this case, however, that sum is on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars, which is a mighty big gamble to take.
On top of all that, the decision in Germany is inextricably intertwined with a parallel patent battle going on here in the States, and so long as all these variables remain up in the air, no drastic action can be taken. That said, winning the injunction stands as a big victory for Motorola, especially considering Motorola has been accused of not exactly playing fair with these particular patents. Don’t expect anything insane to happen too soon, but don’t expect this whole situation to get wrapped up any time soon either. Patent issues can be ludicrously complicated. Let’s all just hope no innocent Xboxes get hurt.