The Xbox 360 Won’t Be Banned By A Silly Court Case

The Xbox 360 Won’t Be Banned By A Silly Court Case

While it seemed unlikely, there was always the chance, however remote, that a battle of patents between Microsoft and Motorola could have seen the Xbox 360 taken off store shelves.

A US judge, however, has ruled that this won’t be happening.

The two companies have been fighting for years, with Motorola saying the Xbox 360 infringes upon five patents it holds, mostly related to video codecs.

Saying that the technology was ” critical to industry standards”, and that Microsoft had agreed to pay for their use (the battle was over how much Microsoft should be paying), Judge James Robart said any financial dispute could be settled at the end of the pair’s case, with no Xbox 360 ban necessary.

So, nothing more to see here. Move along.

Motorola fails to win Xbox ban in US and Germany [BBC]


  • “The Xbox 360 Won’t Be Banned By A Silly Court Case”.
    Okay Luke… I’m usually okay with your artictles, and have even defended you at times in the past… I may have been wrong.
    This is NOT a silly court case.
    This is a case of a FRAND (Fair Reasonable and Non Descriminatory) patent being used to try for an injunction, and should be counted as perfectly fair and reasonable. As the name sugests the pricing on the license is already regulated by the ITC (ie there is a complaint process).
    Microsoft decided that the price (typically a percentage of sale price, which may be Fair Reasonable and Non Descriminatory) was too high for their liking and that they therefore shouldn’t pay at all. The court here has basically agreed with the stance that Microsoft don’t have to pay if they don’t like the price (in so far as without an injunction Motorola have no leverage to force MS to pay up).

    Don’t get me wrong, the patent system is a mess (just look at Apple having patents on a Rectangle with Rounded Corners, they seriously do) and a lot of them should just go away, but while the system exists everyone should be playing by the same rules. Companies like Motorola actually do research and development and create new tech (spending significant amounts in the process), they alllow it to be part of a standard and then have their FRAND Patent. This ruling is basically saying that if a company in the US thinks the price (a percentage that others are happy with) is too high, it can just not pay and it is up to the patent holder to lower their price untill the company agrees, and there is nothing else they can do.

    I cant walk into a shop grab an xbox and walk out without paying because I think the price is too high, nor is the retailer expected to drop the price to a point where I’m happy to pay (which could be well below cost).

    Sure you may love the Xbox, and maybe you hate Motorola (or GOOG since they own it nowdays, and I have noticed Kotaku massively prefer Apple – I assume they are a sponsor), but describing this as a “Silly” case, just shows you to be ignorant about the world of technology.

    Maybe you should do some research into the matters at hand, or some background into what patents MS or Apple is using to get money out of everyone else, instead of just applauding when a court says that the company who put time and money into creating a technology don’t need to be paid if you don’t like the price.

      • yes, when the article is more about culture and not games, and people start attacking the author (Luke usually) I have defended the article as I like some of the quirky culture stuff and Kotaku is meant to be about Gaming and Gaming Culture… I don’t like people jumping in and just saying an author sucks because they don’t care about the article.

        In this case the article is just plain wrong, of interest, but making ignores key facts and basically says “YAY MICROSOFT” because they got away without paying for the patents they’re using… because they don’t like the price. In other words the author has shown himself to be a fool.

    • Actually, Apple’s rounded corners patent is a design patent, which is different to normal patents. Ridiculous it may be, but not as big a thing as everyone makes it out to be.

      Agreed though, this is a very important case and Luke saying it is silly is like saying that a bullet graze was just a bit of fun. Motorola, Google and Samsung are walking a very fine line lately with their attempts to use FRAND patents as ammunition in court cases (Sometimes justifiably as Apple’s Litigation War is getting way out of hand). Motorola attempted to get the judge to dismiss the FRAND rules because Microsoft started the lawsuit. Since Motorola couldn’t show any proof of irreparable harm either, it can only settle for money, and an amount lower than they first hoped for. It’s also floating around the ITC which does have the power to grant injunctions, but the organisation as a whole is currently considering how FRAND patents can be used so they are likely to strike out again. (

      • Yes Rounded Corners is a design patent for the iPad, but if you look at the patent, all that is patent is the specific shape of a rectangle with rounded corners, everything else is for example only… and as the most useful form factor for any tablet is a rectangle, and rounded corners is more comfortable for the user… there is a good reason they don’t have it as a utility patent, but the design patent does mean they can claim something looks to much like their trade dress (by virtue of being a rectangle with rounded corners) and see how it flies…

        The Ars articl is not a bad one, but try this one:
        a little older but includes some detail about what went on here and exactly how Microsoft is gaming the system (and relying on the US court’s tendancy to side with the home team) to get around the system.

        Personally at this point I’d like to see the US court say MS need to pay 3% or more for the patents (just to teach them a lesson, the asking price was 2.25%, and this is clearly viewed by the ITC as Fair and Reasonable), but that won’t happen and no doubt the home team advantage will force it down to a pittance, making it discriminatory to other licencees and effectively having the US controll price of licensing FRAND patents world wide (starting with Motorola’s).

  • Like anything was ever going to come of this.

    It’s happened to all 3 manufacturers at various points of this generation. Usually one of the big 3 ponies up a little more money and it goes away.

  • Video Codecs? As far as I can tell, my un-modded Xbox360 only plays WMV and MP4, with the ‘Optional Media Update.’ Where all these Codecs are I don’t know… 😛

    • The patents in question are over H.264 (video compression codec for MP4), and wifi (including their controllers).
      Both I expect are important to the Xbox…

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