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back to article Xboxes stay on sale but may cost Microsoft money in Google case

Google-owned Motorola won't be granted an injunction against Microsoft's Xbox games console, but only on the grounds that Redmond will cough up the readies if necessary. Motorola had mooted the injunction in response to Microsoft's suit claiming patent infringements on Android handsets. But a federal judge in Seattle has decided …

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Anonymous Coward

Please do forgive my ignorance

what I understand so far is: Microsoft didn't pay to use the patent. Motorola can't get Microsoft's products banned because their patent is under FRAND. Microsoft can decide to now buy a license to those patents, but even if they don't, they don't have to worry about their products being banned which in turn weaken Motorola's negotiation ability.

I don't know if my understanding is correct or not, but what I am now wondering about is: how will this ruling affect future commitments by companies (not just Motorola) to putting their patents into standards? Does this ruling strengthen the value of those patents or does is weaken them? And does it mean that companies can put their products into the market before getting the license and only worry about the license when they get sued?

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Re: Please do forgive my ignorance

You missed the very important bit.

It has yet to be decided whether or not MS are infringing the patents in question at all. If they are, then the FRAND back-licensing applies.

Nobody buys even a FRAND license for something they think they aren't using.

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Re: Please do forgive my ignorance

Plus I wonder if Microsoft will be liable for penalties for wilfully infringing the patents (at least from when Moto notified them, if not before if they're SEPs).

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Paris Hilton

Re: Please do forgive my ignorance (end of FRAND)

I do not know why your post was downvoted.

The question on hand is - who in their mind would want to participate in FRAND patent pools in future?

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Re: Please do forgive my ignorance (end of FRAND)

who in their mind would want to participate in FRAND patent pools in future?

Somebody who wants to get millions of tiny bits of revenue adding up to a long-term profit and who also needs to license FRAND patents from other patent-holders.

Not (as per Motorola) somebody who wants $99US for every XBox 360 sold.

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while you're missing another

important bit: before this desision is being made MS cannot get their products banned, while can ban Moto's products for their own very cool patents.

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L'arithmétique étrange

$99US for every XBox

Okay, let's see here $99 -->2.5%=1/40

The Xbox price = $3,960 Wow, haven't noticed MS uses precious metals in their precious products now. Was it $99 USD or $99 ZD (Zimbabwean dollars, in case there's such a thing)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: L'arithmétique étrange

There is the problem, Motorola had agreed to license some patents under FRAND. Then when MS sued it for using some of MS's none FRAND patent Motorola went back on it's agreemeant and demanded a ridiculous amount of money for it's FRAND license.

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Vic
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Re: Please do forgive my ignorance

> You missed the very important bit.

I have this sneaking suspicion that the very important bit was that this is a Seattle judge...

Expect appeals.

Vic.

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Go

Makes sense to me

Now, if only all patents were subject to the same rules, think how much better off we would all be!

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Re: Makes sense to me

FRAND patent, innovation, and required to use certain technology, has to be put at a reasonable value, from the sound of it less than 1% of a phones value.

Rounded corners: £20 per phone.

I'd much rather see a judge go "Right that's it, from now on FRAND patents are bundled together into packages for various uses, phone / video etc. If a company wants the phone bundle they pay 20% of their handsets value into the bundle which will get split amongst all the owners of said FRAND patents.

Non FRAND patents cannot exceed X cost.

At least that way if a company refuses to pay, they're pissing off multiple entitites and not just one.

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Re: Makes sense to me

FRAND rates typically get smaller with higher volumes of shipments. And why should some things even be patents (e.g. rounded corners, lack of buttons on the face, etc..)?

A percentage of phone value is good for the cheap phone makers that have no major added features, but penalises a premium phone maker like Apple - e.g. the weird spin-offs like Virtu that make stupid bling (yes, I appreciate that this is a two edged sword as a fixed fee FRAND rate penalises the cheap phone makers as it eats their margin - but I'm not saying what the "right" answer is, it's supposed to be a negotiation between the patent holder and the company wanting/needing to license the patent so they are free to make their own decisions on that).

And why should there be a cap on the non-FRAND rate? This removes incentives to invent the "next big thing" as it will limit revenue (e.g. developing a new drug costs rather a lot, even if I don't like some of the things the companies like Monsanto do in doing so).

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Rounded corners iCounter

There are 4 rounded corners... no, since they are rounded there are 8 rounded corners per phone, hence: £80- £160 per both non-i- and non-MS- devices is truly Fair and Non-Discriminatory, everything else is from the evil one.

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Anonymous Coward

Do not evil

Obviously abusing your frand patents to attack your enemy isn't considered evil. We'll be better off when google is the next alta vista.

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Re: Do not evil

Altavista: those buggers swallowed up my favourite search engine, Infoseek.

Called it "Go".

And it did.

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FAIL

Re: Do not evil

Counter-attack, not attack. It's right there in the second paragraph.

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Curious argument

Not sure how para-phrased this report is but it implies that Microsoft's argument has little to do with validity and more to do with how well they bullied smaller companies as in 'other people have paid up so you should too'.

If this really is their case then I really really hope that the judge deals with it appropriately ie a swift kick up the backside and a bit bite out of their wallet

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Facepalm

Re: Curious argument

Cobblers. Most of the large companies have coughed up including Samsung, who are not afraid to go toe-to-toe with the 500lb gorilla of tech lawsuits, Apple.

Thus you have to suspect that whatever MS are licensing for Android is sound as all the other big mobile players have shut up and coughed up. This is more about Google deliberately picking a fight by proxy. Presumably the plan was that wielding the Moto patent portfolio would force MS into a cross-licensing deal, but that appears to have blown up in their faces.

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Re: Curious argument

Or it could be a simple case of microsoft asking for a tiny amount to license this patents and the companies decided that it'd be cheaper in the long run to pay up 1p per device rather than spend a few million on a lawsuit... which would save a few pennies.

I still want to know what this microsoft patent everyone is infringing is. And I swear if it's another "on a mobile device" bullshit patent.

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Re: Curious argument

"I still want to know what this microsoft patent everyone is infringing is."

I thought it was pretty much known that it's the FAT32 extensions? I could be wrong, but that was my understanding.

Everyone wants to store data in a compatible way and, annoyingly, FAT32 seems to be the unspoken industry standard.

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Childcatcher

Re: Curious argument

> hus you have to suspect that whatever MS are licensing for Android is sound as all the other big mobile players have shut up and coughed up.

My guess: an exchange connector wrapped in an nda. Samsung will want one of those, but Google doesn't care and will be happy to fight.

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FAIL

Proof Reading

"so if Microsoft looses the ongoing case "

Which case needs to come loose, suitcase, briefcase...

icon: for the Proof Reading

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Stop!

Apple sues Google-by-proxy (Samsung et al)

Google sues MS

MS sues Apple and Google

Apple sues MS

And so on.

Can't they see that this round-robin of idiocy doesn't do anyone any favours (bar the legal team)? How much money would they actually lose in just stopping this madness and how much would be saved? In that saving, factor in no longer having a management distract by yet another bloody court case.

F/OSS may not be perfect, but at least they (rarely) waste time suing the pants off all-and-sundry. (Minor exceptions for GPL enforcement etc).

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Re: Stop!

The GPL is probably one of the more litigated licenses out there, and even with v2, this is all still possible because there is no patent grant in the GPL v2 (v3 does, but is incompatible license). This is one of the reasons I'm not such a fan of the license, favoring the CDDL. BSD doesn't include a patent grant either, but allows more freedoms reducing the need for litigation farther.

Of course, Public Domain (for those regions that honor it) is even less likely to be litigated (in the absence of math^wsoftware patents).

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Re: Stop!

GPL is probably one of the more litigated licenses out there

1-2 out of thousands is more? And if it is litigated it's not money and more money, it's "used our code, show me yours, or stop using it!".

BSD is free indeed, however it capable of creating some collateral damage when used by pretty dirty hands. Hint: Apple Inc

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Yeah other companies have cough so Google should as well, more like Microsoft bullied everyone else in the school into handing their dinner money over and doing their homework for them (building Windows 7 and 8 phones that no one wants and no one wanted to build), but finally they have come up against someone that is willing and able to fight back and Microsoft doesn't like that at all.

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Stop

Yeah because Samsung are little children that cave in easily and NEVER fight back.

Er... wait...

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They don't fight

back at "the partners"? How much do Sammies pay MS? And who pays who? Remember also that B&N didn't want to pay... and finally got 300 million USD.

They had also not being found giggling when their partner lost approx. 1 billion (ridiculously absurd case) in court. Well, they are not Microsoft, the so called Trojan Horse... I mean, partner.

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FAIL

Re: They don't fight

Is "eulampios" Greek for "Chocolate Teapot"? Because that's approximately how much sense you make.

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Anonymous Coward

Those $12 Billion you paid for Motorola are turning out to be a great investment, right Google? First fire most of the staff and now the patents are worth pennies.

Fortunately Google can just gouge some more advertisers to put up the cash for their little games.

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Mushroom

the point of the investment...

"Those $12 Billion you paid for Motorola are turning out to be a great investment, right Google? First fire most of the staff and now the patents are worth pennies."

not really... the main point is that others who are hostile to Google don't own/control those patents now... just think, they could be owned by one of Microsoft's non-practising entity shell companies that they use for arm's length attacks

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the point of the investment...

That would be Motorola that was hostile then since no one else bothered to bid and Google raised the price by $3 billion at the last moment. Explaines why they are firing people at Moto.

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Facepalm

Those $12 Billion you paid for Motorola .............

"Those $12 Billion you paid for Motorola are turning out to be a great investment, right Google? First fire most of the staff and now the patents are worth pennies."

Did you miss the real reason Google bought Motorola?

Look up "tax write offs". :)

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WTF?

Non disclosure

The fact that other companies settled is irrelevant as we don't know any of the details... It could have been for a trivial amount, or even a negative amount in exchange for the publicity... The "settlement" could also have been a deal primarily about something totally unrelated with the patent case tagged on.

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re: sunk xbox costs

My guess is the next version is a faster cpu & gpu rather than a significant new design... and the marketing costs will be constant anyway and the new xbox will benefit from its predecessors.

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Anonymous Coward

I had the impression that the Xbox had pretty good momentum and suspect it'll end up making them a profit eventually.

Actually I remember reading that it's become a nice little earner in 2011. Oh, yeah, there's an article claiming just that here: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-01-28/tech/30063548_1_xbox-live-money-pit-kinect

Ahh, I see, the "Entertainment & Devices division, which houses the Xbox 360 games console and also its Windows Phone mobile software groups" has posted a loss in 2012.

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Anonymous Coward

> Ahh, I see, the "Entertainment & Devices division, which houses the Xbox 360 games console and also its Windows Phone mobile software groups" has posted a loss in 2012.

I meant to include that link as well: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/20/microsoft-revenues-beat-forecast

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Re: XBox makes surprise loss in 2012

But remember that all big companies are fiddling the tax figures anyway. If the XBox guys have to "buy" a license from Microsoft Bermuda Inc to use DirectX technology, that "loss" could fizzle away and bang into a nice, big, sparkly profit....

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Anonymous Coward

Regional bias?

So a Seattle based judge finds in favour of Microsoft on a case? No sh*t...

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