Motorola looks to sidestep US smartphone ban

By Sooraj Shah
18 Jul 2012 View Comments
A hand moving chess pieces on a board

A US International Trade Commission (ITC) ban on Motorola Mobility phones that comes into effect today will be challenged by the Google-owned company.

The ITC ordered the import ban on 18 May, after ruling that 18 Motorola Mobility products infringe a Microsoft ‘Exchange Active Sync' patent.

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The patent relates to creating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device. The ruling became effective today after a 60-day period of Presidential Review.

Motorola was confident that US customers could still buy the devices but did not disclose details of how it would seek to sell them.

"In view of the ITC exclusion order which becomes effective Wednesday with respect to the single ActiveSync patent upheld in Microsoft's ITC-744 proceeding, Motorola has taken proactive measures to ensure that our industry-leading smartphones remain available to consumers in the US," it told Ars Technica.

"We respect the value of intellectual property and expect other companies to do the same," it continued.

In a statement, David Howard, Microsoft's deputy general counsel said: "Microsoft brought this case only after Motorola stopped licensing our intellectual property but continued to use our inventions in its products. It's unfortunate we've been forced to pursue legal action, but the solution for Motorola remains licensing our intellectual property at market rates as most other Android manufacturers have already done."

In order to sidestep the ban, Motorola could pay Microsoft for a licence to the ActiveSync technology, remove the infringing feature or release a software update which would ensure that it does not infringe the Microsoft patent.

The ITC did not specify the Motorola devices that will be included as part of the ban, and suggested that if the Microsoft patent is infringed on any Motorola product then that device would be subject to a ban.

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