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US Court Says Motorola Can't Enforce Microsoft Injunction In Germany

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the was-meinst-du? dept.

Microsoft 175

First time accepted submitter Chris453 writes "A U.S. appeals court on Friday ruled that Google Inc's Motorola Mobility unit cannot enforce a patent injunction that it obtained against Microsoft Corp in Germany, diminishing Google's leverage in the ongoing smartphone patent wars. Motorola won an injunction against Microsoft in May using their H.264 patents. Apparently the U.S. federal justices in California have worldwide jurisdiction over all court cases — Who knew? Maybe that is why Apple keeps winning lawsuits..."

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175 comments

How does this work? (-1)

Spliffster (755587) | about a year and a half ago | (#41497741)

IANAL and therefore do not understand how a court in one country can overturn a ruling from another sovereign nation's court. Could someone with anough knowledge elaborate?

Cheers,
-S

Re:How does this work? (5, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year and a half ago | (#41497749)

You could try reading the article.

"At bottom, this case is a private dispute under Washington state contract law between two U.S. corporations," the court ruled.

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41497763)

You could try reading the article.

"At bottom, this case is a private dispute under Washington state contract law between two U.S. corporations," the court ruled.

But how that ruling have effect in Germany, when that court has no authority there?

Re:How does this work? (4, Funny)

Eth1csGrad1ent (1175557) | about a year and a half ago | (#41497805)

You see, you're sleeping over at a friends place - and your friend's mum said that you could have coke with your dinner even though your mum said you couldn't.
You can "forget" what your mum told you and have the coke anyway, you won't get in trouble at your friends house.

But you're sure gonna get it when you get home and your mum finds out. I mean, you could lie but...

Re:How does this work? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41497853)

You see, you're sleeping over at a friends place - and your friend's mum said that you could have coke with your dinner even though your mum said you couldn't. You can "forget" what your mum told you and have the coke anyway, you won't get in trouble at your friends house.

But you're sure gonna get it when you get home and your mum finds out. I mean, you could lie but...

or i could fuck your mother. sure i had to brush some cobwebs out her cooch but who hasn't done that once in a while?

Re:How does this work? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41497861)

Yep. Back in my day that very story happened to me. Ma said not to drink Coke, gots addictive additives and what not; Used to put cocaine in it, 's how it got its name. Nowadays not much has changed, 'cept mothers are morons and think getting kids hooked on drugs like caffiene is alright -- They still throw a fit if they catch 'em tokin' though.

Y' know what? An ice cold cola never went down better than after a few smouldering bolws of dope. A whoopin' don't last forever. Fond memories last a life time.

Re:How does this work? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41499105)

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

Re:How does this work? (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year and a half ago | (#41497987)

But in this case it's more like the mum of your friend says "no coke in my house" and your mum says "don't care about what she says, I allow you to drink coke there, that's all that counts."

Re:How does this work? (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498017)

No, it is like the friend's mum says: "From what I understand about your mum's rules, you can't have any coke" and then your mum says: "No. You misunderstand how it works in our house. We haven't decided to forbid him from coke at this point, and until we hear his argument about why we should keep letting him drink it he can continue to drink it."

Re:How does this work? (2)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year and a half ago | (#41499181)

It's not a PATENT dispute at the core, it's a CONTRACT dispute, and Morotola sued about the breach in the US. International contract law is a huge, complicated area, so I'm going to have to assume a Federal judge knows more about the field than a bunch of armchair contract lawyers on slashdot - especially when both of the countries who entered into the contract are American, making the jurisdiction pretty obvious.

Here's a starting point if you really care... http://www.uncitral.org/uncitral/en/uncitral_texts/sale_goods/1980CISG.html [uncitral.org]

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41497767)

All that states is that the 2 had a contract dispute. That does not say how a US court can tell Germany what it can or can not do.

Re:How does this work? (3, Informative)

Fjandr (66656) | about a year and a half ago | (#41497781)

A US court can, however, tell a US corporation whether it can seek to enforce an injunction granted in another jurisdiction.

The court isn't telling Germany to do or not do anything. They're telling Motorola that they cannot seek to have the injunction enforced because of an ongoing lawsuit over whether Motorola acted improperly regarding the fees they requested for the standards-essential patent(s) at issue.

Re:How does this work? (4, Interesting)

sg_oneill (159032) | about a year and a half ago | (#41497813)

It really doesnt matter if its a US corporation. If its operating in Germany, then its operations in germany are under German juristiction no ifs no buts.

We've had a few instances here in australia where a US court "overrules" an australian one from having juristiction. The australian court, naturally, systematically ignores it. Those clauses of "All disagreements must be heard in x state" you see in american contracts have no validity here. To quote a lawyer friend, "Us lawyers dont actually get to invent laws or nullify them with our contracts, no matter how clever we think we are".

Re:How does this work? (2)

donscarletti (569232) | about a year and a half ago | (#41497935)

The difference is, the Australian court system will generally not hear cases between two American companies while a similar action is ongoing in their home country. They will also generally uphold the American ruling, unless it conflicts with Australian statutory law or legal principles.

Australia is a common law jurisdiction, although rulings from other common law jurisdictions is not binding precedent, it is certainly given a huge amount of respect. Germany uses a civil law system and does not consider itself connected in any way.

Re:How does this work? (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498003)

Can a German court tell a US corporation not to do something or another in the US?

Can a US court tell British Petroleum to do or not do something in Nigeria?

Can a US court tell a Korean corp to do or not do something in Europe?

Can a Korean court tell a California corporation to knock it off?

Re:How does this work? (4, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498105)

Look its actually VERY simple: The Germans can do whatever they want and they ruled Motorola can have MSFT products blocked. the US courts have said that if Motorola uses that right then they will lay the smack down on Motorola because they are basically trying to do an end run around the court because the MSFT suit was filed first.

So Motorola can STILL choose to block in Germany, but by doing so they may as well accept they have lost the lawsuit in the USA because the courts will punish them for doing so. It doesn't have a thing to do with the Germans, it has EVERYTHING to do with Motorola and their position in the court.

Re:How does this work? (4, Informative)

Compaqt (1758360) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498315)

They're not doing an end run around the court. If, according to German law, Motorola is in the right, then they have the right to enjoin (in Germany).

  Many companies have to do a lot of things in foreign jurisdictions because of European (or other) laws. It's out of line for a US court to say that they can't do so because a case in a US court.

Re:How does this work? (1)

Grumbleduke (789126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498837)

There's an additional layer of subtlety in that if MS's claim is correct (and they win their case), one of the possible remedies the US court could order is that Motorola retroactively licenses their patents to MS at a FRAND rate. If that happens, then MS won't have infringed Motorola's patents in Germany (because they would have been licensed) and so the German injunction (which is only an interim one, iirc) would be wrongly granted, and Motorola would have to compensate MS (probably to the tune of hundreds of millions of €s or $s) for the lost sales.

So the US breach of contract case has a very significant bearing on the German patent infringement case, and Motorola really shouldn't have started the latter before the first was finished.

[As an aside, MS couldn't bring the contract case in Germany because Germany doesn't have the relevant third-party contract laws that they need to use. However, Motorola have counter-claimed in the US with the patent infringement stuff.]

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41498993)

If that happens, then MS won't have infringed Motorola's patents in Germany (because they would have been licensed) and so the German injunction (which is only an interim one, iirc) would be wrongly granted, and Motorola would have to compensate MS (probably to the tune of hundreds of millions of €s or $s) for the lost sales.

No, thats like saying you can a conviction for driving without a license after you've been found guilty if you get a license at a later date. Motorola would only be liable for losses after the license is granted but the injunction would still have been valid.

Re:How does this work? (2)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498397)

And how is that not the equivalent of claiming global jurisdiction? If you operate in territories A and B and a court with jurisdiction A wants to punish you for something you did in jurisdiction B, then that's effectively claiming jurisdiction. Particularly when it comes to fines you can nullify any foreign law, if Microsoft owes Motorola $100M in Germany and the US court gives $100M back then you're de facto rewriting German law, as long as both are big multinationals with no other choice than to have a US presence.

Re:How does this work? (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498471)

Yeah, how would it go over if a Korean court awarded Samsung $1 billion to make up for the case against Apple in California?

Re:How does this work? (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about a year and a half ago | (#41499113)

Global jurisdiction would imply that jurisdiction C can claim jurisdiction, and you don't operate there at all. The US Constitution doesn't allow that, and even the international criminal court (probably as close to global jurisdiction as it gets) is technically complementary jurisdiction IIRC, since countries still have jurisdiction to try their own war criminals--the ICC only does it if they don't. And it generally only applies to countries which are party to the Rome Statute, so they've consented.

If it really were global jurisdiction, people like Kaderov would not be protected just because they do whatever Putin wants.

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41499623)

There is something called "in personam" jurisdiction, it basically means that you can be sued wherever you live, for any cause of action, regardless of whether that cause of action accrued in the jurisdiction. Like if I owe someone money for a debt incurred in Turkey, they could come sue me in the U.S., since I'm in the U.S., and so is all my money. "Global Jurisdiction" or whatever it seems you are talking about, would seem to imply I could sue a Russian in the U.S. who has no ties to the u.s. over a debt incurred in Turkey, which is just quite simply not the case.

And it also is quite simply not the case that the U.S. law doesn't have jurisdiction over its citizens for actions which occur abroad, even criminal liability can be imposed, for example for doing business with an embargoed country.

Re:How does this work? (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498369)

No-one can tell British Petroleum to do anything because there's no such company any more: it changed its name to BP PLC in 2001, after briefly being BP Amoco PLC from 2000.

Re:How does this work? (1)

fnj (64210) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498543)

Because god forbid a corporation allow anyone to infer from their name they are subordinate or owe allegiance to any particular national government any more. The scale has tipped. The corporations now tell the governments what to do. Let the bribing and arm twisting of the courts begin.

Re:How does this work? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year and a half ago | (#41499261)

Can a US court tell British Petroleum to do or not do something in Nigeria?

No. You can't tell something that doesn't exist to do anything.

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41499779)

This is not true. I tell my pet dragon to paint sunset seascapes for me all the time, but it kind of sucks at it.

Re:How does this work? (1)

yacc143 (975862) | about a year and a half ago | (#41499219)

Well, yes, the question is basically if it's legal from a German point of view, e.g. there are limits how much share owners can dictate behavior to officers of a GmbH or AG (where the companies are basically legal persons, and the officers of the company are kind of guardians for it).

For example the EU does have explicit laws that criminalize applying Helms-Burton inside Europe, the usual way is that the OFAC gives exceptions for US-owned EU companies.

So I guess Motorola could probably construct it in such a way that they enforce the injunction, BUT the question is, do they want to piss of the US judge?

Re:How does this work? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year and a half ago | (#41497783)

It's not about telling German court what they can and can't do, it's about telling Motorola what they can and can't do.

Read the Title: US Court Says Motorola Can't Enforce Microsoft Injunction in Germany.

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41498151)

even if actual, proper courts with jurisdiction over Germany say they can? Sounds like an act of war to me if so...

Re:How does this work? (4, Interesting)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498457)

So Motorola should go to the Mannheim court where it got the injunction and file a "contempt of court" motion against Microsoft for trying to circumvent the injunction without following proper procedure (filing a motion to lift the injunction in the proper courts in Germany). It won't help Motorola directly, but Microsoft might get some hefty fine for it.

Re:How does this work? (1)

fnj (64210) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498557)

I call bullshit and spit on the US court. Thought police come arrest me.

Dangerous precedent (4, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | about a year and a half ago | (#41497795)

"At bottom, this case is a private dispute under Washington state contract law between two U.S. corporations," the court ruled.

The legal drinking age in Germany is 14 (for undistilled drinks given by a parent or guardian). By this court's reasoning, if a family went on vacation in Germany for Octoberfest and dad gave his 14 yo son a beer to drink, then it's a Washington State parent giving alcohol to an underage Washington State child, and he would be subject to fines and jail under the drinking laws of Washington State.

Re:Dangerous precedent (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41497821)

The US, UK and now many other common law countries actually do claim universal jurisdiction for a few select laws, most notably extraterritorial child sex tourism laws. You can murder someone in another country and you have to be prosecuted there, you can't be extradited home to be tried somewhere you didn't commit the crime. But so much as touch a child's genitals and you can be tried there *or* extradited home to face a court under extraterritorial laws, whatever the officials feel like doing on both sides.

Re:Dangerous precedent (2)

magical liopleurodon (1213826) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498707)

The US, UK and now many other common law countries actually do claim universal jurisdiction for a few select laws, most notably extraterritorial child sex tourism laws. You can murder someone in another country and you have to be prosecuted there, you can't be extradited home to be tried somewhere you didn't commit the crime. But so much as touch a child's genitals and you can be tried there *or* extradited home to face a court under extraterritorial laws, whatever the officials feel like doing on both sides.

Another example of U.S. extraterritorial laws deals with Cuban cigars. If you're an american, you can't smoke a Cuban, even in another country. The penalties for an individual -- you can get fined up to $250k and spend 10 years in prison.

Re:Dangerous precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41497949)

Its 16.

Re:Dangerous precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41498113)

No, the OP is correct.
Do read § 9 JuSchG.

Re:Dangerous precedent (2)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498501)

No, it's more complicated. Shops and pubs are not allowed to give brandy and brandy containing drinks to people under 18 (9 JuSchG 1(1)) in general, and other alcoholic drinks to people under 16, if not accompagnied by adults (9 1(2)). It is possible to serve non-brandy-alcohol to people under 16, if they are accompagnied by adults, whose responsibility it is to decide if underage persons should drink alcohol.

Re:Dangerous precedent (1)

bytesex (112972) | about a year and a half ago | (#41497961)

You write it up as if it were somehow ridiculous and beyond the realm of the possible. But I wouldn't put it past a US court at all. 'Child endangerment' an' all that.

Re:Dangerous precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41498005)

The legal drinking age in Germany is 14 (for undistilled drinks given by a parent or guardian). By this court's reasoning, if a family went on vacation in Germany for Octoberfest and dad gave his 14 yo son a beer to drink, then it's a Washington State parent giving alcohol to an underage Washington State child, and he would be subject to fines and jail under the drinking laws of Washington State.

Yes, this is generally how it works. It's quite common that the laws of a nation requires that the citizens follow their laws, even when they are overseas. If you for example travel to a place where age of consent is 15 or so and have sex with someone of that age your home nation will still consider you to be a pedophile.
When you travel to another place you have to follow the laws of both that place and those you have back home.

Re:Dangerous precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41498477)

It would be better if the society recognized that pedophiles are mostly people with a mental problem and be treated as such, rather than criminals. It is of course easier to burn them, stone them, throw into a cell, or sentence to death (sort of what's done with homosexuals in Iran and around the gulf).

Re:Dangerous precedent (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41498075)

By this court's reasoning, if a family went on vacation in Germany for Octoberfest and dad gave his 14 yo son a beer to drink, then it's a Washington State parent giving alcohol to an underage Washington State child, and he would be subject to fines and jail under the drinking laws of Washington State.

No. It's more like father and mother get divorced in Washington state. As part of the custody agreement, the father agrees not to provide beer to their son. The father and son go to Germany and the father buys the son a beer. The Washington state divorce court declares him in violation of the Washington state custody agreement. It's not illegal; it's just a contract violation.

If Google and Microsoft have a contract in Washington state, then US courts will have jurisdiction over that contract. This isn't overturning the German decision. The German decision presumably says that Motorola Mobility has a patent and that Microsoft must license the patent from them. The US court decision apparently says that Google (which owns Motorola Mobility) has a licensing agreement with Microsoft. As a result of that licensing agreement, Microsoft has licensed this patent from Google. This is in fact a US contract dispute and should be decided under US law.

The confusing part here seems to be that there are two separate issues. One should be decided under German law. That's whether the patent applies and requires licensing. The other should be decided under US law. That's the question of whether the licensing agreement applies. Germany decided that the patent does apply and the US decided that the licensing agreement applies. This is confusing, but there's nothing wrong with it. Absent an international patent system, this is the way that these things will work.

Re:Dangerous precedent (2)

fafalone (633739) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498373)

That's the direction things are heading. The age of consent in Germany is 14, and if a US citizen goes over there and legally has consensual sex with a 14 year old non-US citizen (or even a 17 year old, according to the DOJ), they can be arrested and imprisoned in the US; something that has happened.

And no one speaks out against this extraterritorial enforcement of American laws where local laws aren't broken, because hey, it's just for child molesters, right? Oh, and terrorists. They'd never expand it beyond that, ...right? It's not like >99% of domestic Patriot Act powers aren't used against terrorists and are instead used against drug offenders. Wait... they are? Well fuck.

Re:Dangerous precedent (0)

noshellswill (598066) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498485)

Yep .. American dyke-bytches have really pushed this anti-male crap to the limit. Paybacks are due ... discipline is needed ... hehehe ...

Re:Dangerous precedent (1)

ultranova (717540) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498995)

The age of consent in Germany is 14, and if a US citizen goes over there and legally has consensual sex with a 14 year old non-US citizen (or even a 17 year old, according to the DOJ), they can be arrested and imprisoned in the US; something that has happened.

And no one speaks out against this extraterritorial enforcement of American laws where local laws aren't broken, because hey, it's just for child molesters, right?

So what's extraterritorial about it? US court arrests a US citizen on US soil for breaking a US law. It doesn't get much more domestic than that.

Re:Dangerous precedent (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about a year and a half ago | (#41499539)

"At bottom, this case is a private dispute under Washington state contract law between two U.S. corporations," the court ruled.

The legal drinking age in Germany is 14 (for undistilled drinks given by a parent or guardian). By this court's reasoning, if a family went on vacation in Germany for Octoberfest and dad gave his 14 yo son a beer to drink, then it's a Washington State parent giving alcohol to an underage Washington State child, and he would be subject to fines and jail under the drinking laws of Washington State.

No, it's more like one parent sued the other over drinking, then went to a foreign court to get a verdict they like. The US court says "Stop, you started the fight here and are US companies so we will decide the outcome; if you try to enforce your rights under the foreign decision we will be pissed." You don't want to piss of a US judge if you fall under their jurisdiction.

Re:Dangerous precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41499743)

> The legal drinking age in Germany is 14 (for undistilled drinks given by a parent or guardian). By this court's reasoning, if a family went on vacation in Germany for Octoberfest and dad gave his 14 yo son a beer to drink, then it's a Washington State parent giving alcohol to an underage Washington State child, and he would be subject to fines and jail under the drinking laws of Washington State.

This is exactly what they do for child sex tourism.

Re:How does this work? (1)

Stumbles (602007) | about a year and a half ago | (#41497807)

And that's fine but I seriously doubt a California court can dictate what a corporation does in a foreign country.

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41497979)

"And that's fine but I seriously doubt a California court can dictate what a corporation does in a foreign country."

But be prepared to pay heavy fines in California.

Prepare to lose your president (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41498441)

When he turns up in Europe for a meeting? "Hello Mr President. We have a warrant for your arrest here. Please follow these men.".

Re:Prepare to lose your president (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498535)

"Hello Mr President. We have a warrant for your arrest here. Please follow these men.".

Sovereigns and assorted world leaders have highest dilomatic immunity possible, well over ambassadors. Arresting Obama, say, for murder, even if the arresting country had a roomful of witnesses and a gun with his finger prints, would be treated as a declaration of war. Not happening. Worst case he'd be kicked out of the country and formal protests lodged, perhaps expellation of the US ambassador.

Re:How does this work? (2)

Grumbleduke (789126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498127)

Of course they can. Countries are (mostly) sovereign, meaning they can pass any law they want, covering anyone, anywhere. The only limitation is the practicality of enforcing such laws (including, traditionally, the various wars that spring up when country A tries to assert control over part of country B). While this can cause problems with natural people (as the US has found with Assange; they can't really enforce their laws against him unless they can get hold of him, and they can't do that without breaking various international conventions, which will be diplomatically awkward), with companies it becomes really easy; you just enforce the ruling against any assets that company has in your jurisdiction.

Here, both Microsoft and Motorola are US-based companies (although the German ruling involved a subsidiary of Motorola), meaning many of their assets, and directors, will be in the US and thus within the reach of the US courts.

As a general rule, each company has to obey the laws of every country in which they operate (unlike people, companies can be in several countries at once*). If they break a law, and a court tries to enforce it against them, they either have to abandon that jurisdiction (and any connected ones), possibly surrendering all assets there, or comply, even if they are mainly based elsewhere. Of course, sometimes this can lead to major problems, as with Google and the Streetview screw-up; after revealing it had collected huge chunks of potentially-personal data, Google was ordered by some countries to immediately destroy it, but by others to preserve it so that official investigations could be carried out.

*Ok, there are a few points in the world where a person can do that as well, but there tends to be not a lot you can do at them.

It does not matter what they say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41497869)

At the bottom line the injunction is german law, german folk, german territory. It does not matter if the company are US : the german market is the one concerned. So excuse me if as living in germany I find that a shitty US court imposing its view on the german market and court.

Re:How does this work? (4, Insightful)

thej1nx (763573) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498013)

Negative. At bottom it is a private dispute between Microsoft Germany and Google Germany. The fact that these are in turn, owned by US companies is immaterial. If these were really just "US corporations", they could not have filed a case in Germany in the first place. The judge is a moron.

Re:How does this work? (3, Insightful)

Grumbleduke (789126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498735)

It's a private dispute between Motorola (and hence Google) and Microsoft. But it's a cross-jurisdictional one, with lawsuits being filed all over the place (as with the Apple v Samsung fight). Yes, some of the cases involve various subsidiaries, including national branches, but there is enough cross-over between the cases that is isn't an issue, and both sides seem to have agreed that they were the same parties involved in both cases.

From footnote 7, page 10 of the US Court of Appeal's judgment [uscourts.gov]:

The plaintiff in the German suit is General Instrument Corporation, a defendant in [the US] case and a subsidiary of the Motorola Group. The defendants in the German suit are Microsoft Corporation, the plaintiff in this case, as well as Microsoft Deutschland GmbH and Microsoft Ireland Operations Ltd.

For more details, see the argument in IV A, starting at page 18. Basically, the parties agreed that they were the same.

Also, as a Court of Appeal case, there were three judges involved, not just one, and just because someone gives a ruling you disagree with (perhaps based on factual misunderstandings), that doesn't make them morons.

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41497759)

Motorola tried to do an end run around the US court where Microsoft is trying to hold them to their obligations to grant a global licence (because they are standards essential patents). The US court has injucted Motorola from enforcing their temporary victory in Germany to stop them using the threat of a sales ban to force Microsoft to licence the patents at an unreasonable rate.

They have no obligation. MS need to pay first. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41498351)

Or is it OK for US corps only to decide what the fair price is?

Re:How does this work? (2)

alendit (1454311) | about a year and a half ago | (#41497777)

How does it work?

Drone strikes!

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41499011)

Foreigners, your puny laws are no match for our U.S. Courts Of Appeal.

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41497797)

Oh just the normal proceeding of the USA bully with the grand-delusion of supremacy over every other country.
Culminating is such nonsense statements like "America first", "leader of the free world" or worse, like the murdering of foreign elected head of states like Allende, Arbenz, Goulart, Kwame Nkrumah, etc.

Earth to the US of A : you are NOT worth more than anyone else. Be a bit more humble. Thanks.

Re:How does this work? (1)

kiep (1821612) | about a year and a half ago | (#41497887)

garmany is not a sovereign nation, it's a state of eu

Re:How does this work? (1)

meisenst (104896) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498133)

You're doing it wrong. The EU is not a country, it's a union of like-minded sovereign nations.

Re:How does this work? (1)

Grumbleduke (789126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498751)

... a union of (fairly) like-minded sovereign states which have agreed to give up some of their sovereignty to the EU, in return for the benefits of being involved the Union.

Re:How does this work? (5, Interesting)

Grumbleduke (789126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41497889)

How can a court in one country overturn a ruling from another sovereign nation's court?

tl;dr; they're not. Under German law, injunctions are enforced by the party, not the court. The US court has ordered that Motorola not enforce it until they've come to a conclusion in their case (which could affect the German court decision).

Long version, based on the CoA's judgment, available here [uscourts.gov]:

Motorola claims to have patents in various jurisdictions covering vital steps of the H.264 video compression standard. When the ITU established H.264 as a standard, Motorola had to agree to license all relevant patents at RAND (reasonable and non-discriminatory) rates.

Back in 2010, Motorola asked Microsoft to licence its H.264 patents (for use in the various Windows and X-Box software) at what MS described as an unreasonable royalty rate. MS sued Motorola for breach of contract, on the grounds that Motorola's agreement with the ITU was a contract, which gave MS third-party benefits (and thus the right to sue to enforce it). [Third-party contract rights are an interesting area of law; some jurisdictions have them (e.g. the US), in some they are optional (e.g. England+Wales) and in others they don't exist (e.g. Germany).] Motorola responded by suing for patent infringement, and the cases were combined.

In 2011, while the US contract/patent case was going on, Motorola then filed a claim against MS for patent infringement in Germany, specifically for the two H.264 patents. As part of their claim, Motorola wanted an injunction banning the sale of Windows and X-Boxes in Germany. In May 2012, the German Court found in favour of Motorola and granted the injunction. However, as noted in the US CoA's judgment:

[t]he German injunction is not self-enforcing. ... to enforce the German patent injunction, Motorola would have to post a security bond covering potential damages to Microsoft should the infringement ruling be reversed on appeal.

Under German law, if a party is given an injunction, they get to decide whether or not to enforce it, and if they do and it is subsequently overturned, they have to pay the other side damages to cover any losses.

So the question before the US CoA was whether or not the US courts could issue their own injunction ordering that Motorola not enforce the German injunction (Motorola, being a US-based company, is obviously within the court's jurisdiction). The District Court said they could, and the Court of Appeal have confirmed this. Their reasoning seems to be that *if* Motorola was in breach of contract by not licensing its patents to MS at RAND rates, then one remedy for MS would be a compulsory licence at such a rate. But such a licence would necessarily include *all* of Motorola's relevant patents, including the German ones. Thus MS would no longer be committing patent infringement in Germany, and the German injunction would be wrongly granted.

The US CoA's options were: allow Motorola to enforce the German injunction, and if the injunction were overturned (due to US rulings on the contract), Motorola would have to pay MS to compensate for any losses, *or* block Motorola from enforcing the German injunction and, if the injunction was not overturned (due to the US ruling), MS would have to pay Motorola to compensate for the losses.

The CoA seems to have sided with MS rather than Motorola, possibly because they felt Motorola had been a bit vexatious by suing in Germany while the US case was happening (it comes across as them trying to "forum shop" for the most friendly jurisdiction). So the CoA upheld the District Court's decision that, as the German injunction is sort of dependent on the US breach of contract case, Motorola shouldn't be allowed to enforce it until that case is over (some time in early 2013, possibly).

But IANAL, nor an expert in US or German patent law, or in multi-jurisdiction injunctive relief.

In the end, both sides are being fairly silly, but it's their own fault for supporting software patents in the first place. A pity all this money that is being spent on lawyers and litigation, rather than on actually innovating...

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41498521)

Now Motorola should ask the German court to order MS to give up that request on the US court, or face heavy fines.

Re:How does this work? (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498783)

But IANAL, nor an expert in US or German patent law, or in multi-jurisdiction injunctive relief.

And yet, you've done a very clear and accurate summary of the issues here. Nice job.

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41499193)

Fascinating. But there's also a specific case where MMI won in the US but there's an injunction in Germany ('762 patent). Both Apple and MS use Germany to block products, so this is more related to the fact that there's an open case in the US still?

First time troll. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41497743)

'First time accepted submitter Chris453' should be shot and so prevented from submitting any further stories for needlessly crowbarring in a reference to Apple.

Re:First time troll. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41497761)

Yeah but think about what a pathetic life he has and what a useless piece of shit he is. He'll probably die of cheetoh lung and diabetes before the decade is out, unlaid except for that incident with the gym teacher.

Time to use the ruling against Microsoft.... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41497747)

By using the ExFat patents without a license and then claiming:
'Microsoft's patents are standard, essential parts of software and Microsoft is asking far too much in royalties for their use.'

Good start (2)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#41497769)

Now you only only have to ban your other thousand companies from using software patents in Europe, and we will be very thankful.

Re: Maybe that is why Apple keeps winning lawsuits (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41497833)

Or maybe it's because...you know...Apple are actually in the right here and others are ripping them off.

Yet Another Misleading Story (3, Informative)

ReallyEvilCanine (991886) | about a year and a half ago | (#41497847)

The Appeals Court turned down the preliminary because the full case is still active in District. The German case will almost certainly influence the finding but the case is still on-going. Appeals Courts are for after a decision has been reached by the lower court.

Apple? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41498009)

No... Apple keeps winning lawsuits because the bring them, and they prevail on the strength of their arguments under law and with the support of evidence. That's how. Not judicial misconduct. Not cheating. Not preferential behavior on the part of the system.

Good to know it's possible to get in an Apple dig on a non-Apple related story, though. A dig rooted in profound ignorance.

Re:Apple? (2)

Grumbleduke (789126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498807)

Skimming the Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] of the Apple v Samsung battle, Apple have lost 4 rounds and Samsung 5 rounds. However, in some cases they've both lost, and some are being appealed (or have been appealed). Then some also involve counter-claims, whereas others are just one-sided. At the moment they're up to about 50 lawsuits in nearly a dozen countries. It's rather depressing.

However, I wouldn't say that Apple *keeps* winning. One hopes that the inconsistencies between the rulings are due to differences in laws (and as to what can be patented etc.) rather than due to judicial misconduct (although the US ruling seems to have involved a jury screw-up; although that may not be a deciding factor).

But yes, this was probably an inappropriate place for an Apple dig.

Re:Apple? (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498833)

Considering the Jury misconduct that transpired with their lawsuit on the Samsung deal, you might want to dial that fanboism back a bit... But then, this is /. and you posted as an anon coward...unsurprising.

Re:Apple? (0)

stevez67 (2374822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41499003)

The fact that you don't like their ruling, or their reason for making the ruling, doesn't make it misconduct. But nice anti-Apple trolling nonetheless.

Re:Apple? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about a year and a half ago | (#41499427)

yes because having a juror who uses incorrect personal information is winning on the merits......

IANAL (2)

Jaytan (1163393) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498015)

An injunction is a court order instructing a party to do or not do something. Injunctions are enforced via threat of more legal action. In this context:

Microsoft sued Motorola Mobility / Google in the US in 2010 to enforce MM's licensing promise on a worldwide basis.
Motorola Mobility / Google sued Microsoft in Germany eight months later.

The German court granted an injunction in the German case to stop Microsoft from selling Xboxen and Windows in Germany while the court decides if Microsoft is violating Google's patents. Despite what might show up in headlines this is not the same thing as the German government banning those products. There is a whole bunch of nuance involved, but if Microsoft continued to sell the infringing products Google would need to bring a suit and the German court evaluates whether Microsoft did indeed violate the order and if so what to do about it.

What the US court did was grant an injunction to stop Google from bringing that suit while the US case is still going on. Basically the court is calling Google out on using the German court to try and get leverage to force Microsoft to settle the US suit that had been filed first. Google could ignore the US order and it is unlikely the German court would factor the US court's injunction into what it decides; however, if Google did that Microsoft could bring a suit against them in the US and the court would likely put quite a smack down in response.

In other words, the problem is the language used by the journalist. The US court didn't decide "Google can't enforce German Microsoft injunction" and the German court didn't "ban the sell of windows".

Fairness - from the article (0)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498143)

Microsoft has said that Motorola's patents are standard, essential parts of its software and that Motorola is asking far too much in royalties for their use.

WTF? Go cry me a river. Since when does a company ( that isn't a monopoly ) have to be fair and charge 'reasonable' prices? Especially to the competition...

Re:Fairness - from the article (3, Informative)

starless (60879) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498391)

WTF? Go cry me a river. Since when does a company ( that isn't a monopoly ) have to be fair and charge 'reasonable' prices? Especially to the competition...

Here's one example:
Reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (RAND), also known as fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND), are a licensing obligation that is often required by standard-setting organizations for members that participate in the standard-setting process.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reasonable_and_non-discriminatory_licensing [wikipedia.org]

Re:Fairness - from the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41498605)

Patents are by definition a monopoly, and thus applying for them is illegal and criminal under the Section 2 of the Sherman Act. /s

Patent monopolists must charge "reasonable" prices whenever a well moneyed and politically connected group can have congress force the patent holder to do so. In the public interest of course.

Re:Fairness - from the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41498855)

Actually, unless they supercede the Constitution, no, they don't. You need to actually read the law in the following order: Bill of Rights, Constitution, Federal Code. If you're not, you're not understanding the consequences of things.

The Constitution grants Congress the ability to give out Patents and Copyrights to further the progress of the arts and sciences- PERIOD. The Sherman and Taft Antitrust Acts apply inasmuch as they're Federal Law, but they do not apply to this aspect of the Law- and only really do if you have an actual Monopoly/Effective Monopoly (Read: Someone like Standard Oil or Microsoft...) and you misuse your Patents (And there are ways you can lose 'em under the Sherman Act...).

Re:Fairness - from the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41499159)

The Constitution grants Congress the ability to give out Patents and Copyrights to further the progress of the arts and sciences- PERIOD.

Well since patents and copyrights don't further the progress of the arts and sciences, I guess we can declare all patents and copyrights null and void at this point in time.

Re:Fairness - from the article (2)

Grumbleduke (789126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41498823)

... since that company entered into a contract, one of the terms of which was that it would issue fair and non-discriminatory licences (that being a condition of getting the processes covered by the patents involved adopted as an official standard by the ITU).

Whether or not it has done so is something the court may rule on later this year, but a contract is a contract.

Submitter = idiot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41498385)

U.S. patent law and German patent law are different. The U.S. is not bound whatsoever, in any manner, under any circumstances by the decisions of a foreign court. Can you imagine if U.S. courts were bound to honor a forced marriage among pre-adolescents from, say, Kyrgyzstan? You're an idiot for failing to understand that point, and an asshole for attacking the U.S. court system without doing even a modicum of research to make sure you weren't flat wrong.

Source: I'm an American lawyer with patent litigation experience.

More A. hubris... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41498437)

"Apparently the U.S. federal justices in California have worldwide jurisdiction over all court cases — Who knew? Maybe that is why Apple keeps winning lawsuits."

Re:More A. hubris... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41498873)

It's another instance of a ruling from the Ninth Circus Court.

That bunch has mostly always been clueless and needs an enema to get the Activist Judges out of the place.

Re:Definition of activist? (1)

stevez67 (2374822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41499023)

I see you take "activist judge" to mean any judge who disagrees with you rather than basing their rulings on the law.

Californians are the new Nigerians... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41498925)

Californians are the new Nigerians. But without any old culture. Cheap booze, crack, surfers, mexicans, polluted air, courts smoking crack and child molesters. What more could you ask for? Porn? Sure, it is there too.

informati?ve gnaagnaa (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41499307)

be fun. It used a child knows dead. It is a dead that they sideline Moans and groans notwithstanding, had at lunchtime is dying and its Your own towel in So thaDt their and, after initial And she ran the longest or Darren Reed, which Discussion I'm in a head spinning by BSDI who sell Walk up to a play you got there. Or out of bed in the First, you have to ABOUT A PROJECT the goodwill we don't sux0r as we get there with polite to bring FreeBSD is already and mortifying

US court has no jurisdiction in Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41499547)

The US court has no business looking at what is happening in Germany. German courts hold sway over what happens in Germany. US courts hold sway over what happens in the US, and that's where their 'dominion' ends. Even if the legal contract say some blurb about 'in the state of' whatever, the laws apply based on the jurisdiction wherever its at. Even their "Destructive Mighty Corporations Act" (DMCA), stops at the border. It doesn't apply anywhere else. They might want to rule the world, and I want a pony, but neither is about to happen. They can try and convince other countries to create laws as abusive as the "Destructive Mighty Corporations Act", but most other countries aren't ruled by corporations and thus, see these laws as abusive, undemocratic, and fly in the face of free and open democracies. The German courts will cheerfully ignore anything that any California judge says.

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