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US court prevents Motorola from blocking sales of Microsoft products in Germany (update)

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xbox 360 stock
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Back in May, Motorola won an injunction against the sale of several Microsoft products in Germany, but it appears it won't be going into effect after all. Reuters reports that a US appeals court has upheld a judge's decision to prevent the company from enacting the sales ban. The conflict traces back to standards essential patents covering H.264 video encoding. Motorola claims that Microsoft infringed on several of its standards essential patents with numerous products, including Windows 7 and the Xbox 360.

The German courts agreed with Google-owned Motorola, granting an injunction against the offending products, but the company was unable to pursue any sales ban at that time. Motorola had already been shackled with a restraining order by a federal judge in Seattle. According to said judge, Motorola wouldn't be allowed to pursue any sales ban until he had decided whether such a ban was appropriate in connection with standards essential patents. The Ninth Circuit court upheld that decision today.

It may seem counterintuitive that a US judge could prevent a sales ban authorized in Germany, but it's the domestic legal wrangling of both companies that has allowed the US courts to step in. In its ruling, the court wrote that "At bottom, this case is a private dispute under Washington state contract law between two US corporations."

Update: Microsoft has provided the following statement, attributed to the company's deputy general counsel, David Howard:

We’re pleased that Judge Robart’s decision has been affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, preventing Motorola from enforcing an injunction in Germany until its use of standard essential patents can be closely examined. It continues to be our hope that Google and Motorola live up to their promises to standards organizations.