About a month ago, Microsoft launched a case against Motorola regarding some software patents for e-mail, calendar, and contact sync, and notifying applications of signal and battery strength. Now the International Trade Commission is stepping in to see if the case actually warrants a stay on all imports relating to products containing the technology in question. The USITC will set a date for coming to their decision sometime within the next 45 days.
The specific patents being disputed are:
- 5,579,517 (Common name space for long and short filenames)
- 5,758,352 (also Common name space for long and short filenames)
- 6,621,746 (Monitoring entropic conditions of a flash memory device as an indicator for invoking erasure operations)
- 6,826,762 (Radio interface layer in a cell phone with a set of APIs having a hardware-independent proxy layer and a hardware-specific driver layer)
- 6,909,910 (Method and system for managing changes to a contact database)
- 7,644,376 (Flexible architecture for notifying applications of state changes)
- 5,664,133 (Context sensitive menu system/menu behavior)
- 6,578,054 (Method and system for supporting off-line mode of operation and synchronization using resource state information)
- 6,370,566 (Generating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device)
Microsoft and HTC had reached an agreement over similar circumstances with Android phones, that resulted in HTC paying royalties to Microsoft. Presumably, Microsoft wants the same thing from Motorola, which would earn their mobile division a bit of money while Windows Phone is busy losing it. Considering their lengthy history in computing, and mobile’s current drift towards becoming tiny computers, we can see how Microsoft’s intellectual property position will start benefiting them.
In any case, these legal spats rarely result in an actual trade injunction, and the ITC’s investigation may throw out Microsoft’s claim before their case even gets to that point. In the worst case scenario, Motorola may have to pay some royalties.