Google IO 2016 Coverage

Motorola Android Phones Banned From Import Into The U.S. Over Microsoft Patent Issues

Boy, this legal stuff can get confusing. Let’s take it from the beginning and walk through it. First, we know that the HTC One X and the Evo 4G LTE are currently held up in customs while they check whether the devices violate an ITC exclusion order Apple was granted last December.

Then we heard the ITC has decided to ban the import of Motorola Android phones for infringing on patents by Microsoft, joining HTC in the “import ban” club. FOSS Patents said this order could likely go into effect in 60 days. It’s also possible Motorola could tweak the software to comply with the ITC’s rulings during those 60 days.

As more details were revealed, we now learn that Motorola was found NOT to infringe on 8 patents in the Microsoft case, and only infringed on one specific patent for “generating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device“. This verdict is now under Presidential review, and is subject to appeal. Motorola said in a statement to ArsTechnica:

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Microsoft files patent lawsuit against Motorola’s use of Android code

Looks like Microsoft is trying to clear the path for their upcoming Windows 7 Phone as they are going after Motorola’s DROID series of phones which, of course, run Google’s Android mobile operating system.  Some of the details in the lawsuit regard Motorola’s code implementation of synchronizing email, contacts, and calendars, including the way meetings are scheduled.  It also covers the way battery level and signal strength notify applications.

In Microsoft’s defense, Motorola did license some of their mobile technology from 2003 to 2007 and supposedly failed to renew the license, yet continued to use it.  Still, it is unfortunate that the big boys can’t share the space in the handset market.  Microsoft has already called out Android as not really being “free”, stating that there is a lot of toe-stepping on patent infringement with the open source operating system.

Such accusations hold merit as there is already a case of Apple vs. HTC regarding the “slide to unlock” feature.  It looks like future Android manufacturers will need to tread more carefully as the smartphone market gets more crowded.

See the full list of patents and read the full press release after the jump:

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