Germany bans Motorola Android phones due to Microsoft patent

The patent battles between Google-owned Motorola and Microsoft continue in Germany. Today, Judge Andreas Voss ruled that Motorola's Android-based smartphones are in violation of a File Allocation Table (FAT) patent owned by Microsoft.

As reported by FOSS Patents, the decision means that all Motorola Android smartphones can now be banned for sale in Germany, although Microsoft must pay a 10 million euro bond for the injunction to be enforced. So far, there's been no comment from Motorola or Google about this decision, but you can bet that they will try to appeal Judge Voss' ruling.

Motorola is the only large vendor of Android-based smartphones that has yet to sign on the dotted line with Microsoft to license its patents. Most of the other companies that made Android devices, along with those that use Google's Chrome OS, have inked patent deals with Microsoft, most of which entail the companies giving Microsoft a cut of each sale of their Android devices.

Earlier this week, 18 of Motorola's Android products were banned from being shipped into the US due to an earlier ITC ruling that the devices uses unlicensed ActiveSync patents owned by Microsoft. Motorola and Google said at the time they were going to find a way to get around the ban but so far it has not offered any solutions to the issue.

Source: FOSS Patents

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16 Comments

This is just another part of the spat between MS and Moto where MS claims that Moto won't licence their FRAND patents at a reasonable rate

Completely agree! But not supporting FAT would mean that SD card slots will be less useful. They wouldn't be useless, just less useful. For instance taking an SD card out of camera and loading it on your phone so you can look at your pictures there (or Email/Facebook them) would probably not be possible.

Shadrack said,
For instance taking an SD card out of camera and loading it on your phone so you can look at your pictures there (or Email/Facebook them) would probably not be possible.

If hardware makers started supporting ext4, it wouldn't be a problem. Then again, Microsoft has been flapping these decrepit FAT patents about for years trying to spread FUD about GNU/LInux. Perhaps now's the right time to standardise on a FOSS file system like ext4 and let Microsoft wallow in its ancient and slow file systems.

Digitalx said,
Doubt it'll affect much. Motorola are only popular in the US lol.

Motorola already got banned in the US.

From the article: "Earlier this week, 18 of Motorola's Android products were banned from being shipped into the US due to an earlier ITC ruling that the devices uses unlicensed ActiveSync patents owned by Microsoft."

Wasn't that patent worked around in the FAT implementation in the Linux kernel about 3 years ago already? (Short after Microsoft sued Tomtom).

ichi said,
Wasn't that patent worked around in the FAT implementation in the Linux kernel about 3 years ago already? (Short after Microsoft sued Tomtom).

Yes. Not only that but Linus Torvalds effectively invalidated the long/short file name patent by providing prior art, but as we all know, Germany is Europe's equivalent to the US' Texas for patent lawsuits - their validity isn't even questioned until after these bans occur, and occur they do rather often.

In the end, it will be reversed, as Microsoft is flogging a dead horse here with FAT patents.

simplezz said,

Yes. Not only that but Linus Torvalds effectively invalidated the long/short file name patent by providing prior art, but as we all know, Germany is Europe's equivalent to the US' Texas for patent lawsuits - their validity isn't even questioned until after these bans occur, and occur they do rather often.

In the end, it will be reversed, as Microsoft is flogging a dead horse here with FAT patents.

This is ONE tiny thing that has a prior ruling that has to upheld until challenged. Law is tricky with precedent and stuffs.

Microsoft has a legitimate patent chest that could cripple Linux, and rip Android to pieces if they were as aggressive or litigious as people want to paint them.

Ironically, it is Microsoft that keeps buying patents and releasing them for free use. This is not something you see Google or Motorola doing.

Every phone infringes at least one patent or another, however random; it's just pot luck as to whether action is taken and a court will side with a ban. Patents aren't protecting innovation in the industry... they're stifling it.

Good job Google, by telling Motorola to hold out and throw in the patent fight with Microsoft on the XBox you did good.

Not only did you give them horrible advice, you were are inept at helping them and have found your entire platform under scrutiny.

*Claps hands*

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