A judge at the US International Trade Commission has just ruled that Microsoft's Xbox 360 infringes four of Motorola's patents. The ruling isn't unexpected, since many of the patents cover H.264 video encoding, which is a standard — the ITC wasn't persuaded by Microsoft's argument that Motorola will "kill video on the web" by failing its obligation to license the patents under fair and reasonable terms. In a statement, Microsoft said it "remains confident the Commission will ultimately rule in Microsoft's favor in this case and that Motorola will be held to its promise to make its standard essential patents available on fair and reasonable terms."

The ruling is preliminary and subject to review by a full panel of ITC judges, so there will be little immediate impact, but Motorola's strategy of litigating with standard-related patents seems to be paying early dividends even as it invites international scrutiny.