Microsoft sues US Customs for letting in banned Motorola phones

Microsoft is once again going after Google's Motorola Mobility in court over a patent issue, but this time the legal strike is headed for the U.S. government. Today, Microsoft filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, claiming it illegally allowed for Motorola phones that had been banned for import to be brought into the country, even though they violated a patent held by Microsoft.

Bloomberg reports that the specific ban on the Motorola phones was set up back in May 2012 by the U.S. International Trade Commission. The ITC ruled that some of Motorola's phones violated one of Microsoft's patents that dealt with "generating meeting requests” from a mobile device. In today's lawsuit, Microsoft claims that Motorola's parent company Google held secret meetings with U.S. Customs officials after the ITC decision. Microsoft alleges that as a result of those meetings, the government agency continued to allow Motorola phones that used Microsoft's patent to be imported into the country.

Microsoft claims that in these meetings with the U.S. Customs service, Google claimed the ITC patent ban did not apply to syncing meeting requests through Google's servers rather than Microsoft's servers. Microsoft said that the ITC had already rejected that notion, as well as a grace period while Google makes changes to the Motorola phones. Indeed, a appeal hearing on this subject is scheduled for Aug. 6.

Source: Bloomberg
Lawsuit image via Shutterstock

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19 Comments

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JHBrown said,
Micosoft has got some big cojones!
How so? They're within their rights to seek some sort of legal solution. Google refuses to pay to license the patent. If they did in fact allow the phones to enter the country, MS is being damaged.

No judgement yet, but if it's true (that Google held secret talks to circumvent the ban), then that company will slide lower into my "never go near" category.

ZipZapRap said,
No judgement yet, but if it's true (that Google held secret talks to circumvent the ban), then that company will slide lower into my "never go near" category.

Or maybe they held no secret meetings, but rather "unannounced" meetings (Hence why Microsoft even know about them) discussing the implications of the verdict with customs so they don't carelessly denies import on a device that isn't banned.

vcfan said,
google has no integrity. they should be charged with obstruction of justice

Yeah it's a good think Microsoft doesn't do any shady deals...

vcfan said,
google has no integrity. they should be charged with obstruction of justice

And good rest to the presumption of innocence....
Interesting how fan boys, no matter of which orientation, are all big fans of Judge Roy Bean.....

"generating meeting requests" I'm more worried about how sick and crazy this patent is...

Everyone is here pro "some company" here lately they don't look at the more serious part of the issue and that's the crazy patent part, as example the britisch company called "sky" won a case in england a few days ago against microsoft which means that microsoft can't use skydrive in england and maybe even europe anymore because the company called sky had a trademark on the word "sky" O.o

At this rate we're paying all our money on these lawyers which are preventing innovation and supporting monopolies of big companies...

Edited by Seahorsepip, Jul 13 2013, 1:33am :

nitins60 said,

do you have evidence?

I'm going to assume you're young, but MS went through a LOT of court trouble over shady deals lol

Seahorsepip said,
"generating meeting requests" I'm more worried about how sick and crazy this patent is...

Everyone is here pro "some company" here lately they don't look at the more serious part of the issue and that's the crazy patent part, as example the britisch company called "sky" won a case in england a few days ago against microsoft which means that microsoft can't use skydrive in england and maybe even europe anymore because the company called sky had a trademark on the word "sky" O.o

At this rate we're paying all our money on these lawyers which are preventing innovation and supporting monopolies of big companies...

Couldn't agree more. But can't really blame them for playing the game in the legal framework they've got. It's disgusting but is what it is. This time they are going after the feds for not following their own rules. Perhaps if the feds waste a little time fighting law suits it will wake up law makers to make the real changes that need to be made in order to solve this mess.

Who am I kidding though? This congress? This congress will can't pass legislation that everyone agrees on. Its crazy right now.

fobban said,
These deals seem particularly customer friendly: http://goo.gl/J8mwK

So like, where are these leaked documents so we can all see the details? I don't see a link to them anywhere in that post. Has anyone seen them? Besides if you want to believe the MS bit why overlook the part in the article that says the same goes on with Google, Apple, Facebook and Yahoo?

GP007 said,

So like, where are these leaked documents so we can all see the details? I don't see a link to them anywhere in that post. Has anyone seen them? Besides if you want to believe the MS bit why overlook the part in the article that says the same goes on with Google, Apple, Facebook and Yahoo?

He asked about shady deals Microsoft had done.

I haven't read about other companies having such deep integration. But to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised anymore. Sadly.

fobban said,
He asked about shady deals Microsoft had done.

I haven't read about other companies having such deep integration. But to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised anymore. Sadly.

Neither would I, I'd still like to see these leaked documents the Guardian is talking about having seen, because it seems they're the only ones who have? I don't see anyone else reporting this other than just rehashing the original post from the guardian.

By law in the US, and I'm sure in the EU and other contrives as well, you have to have ways to give data to the government when they legally ask for it. That's always been the case, if they come knocking with a warrant to get your Skype calls or skydrive files then legally MS has to have ways to supply those. To that extent it should be expected, unless you run your servers in some place that doesn't have those types of laws, like all the pirating sites do.

nitins60 said,

do you have evidence?

Are you serious? How old are you? 10? I ask because you have to be a ten year old to not remember all the crap MS did the past 30 years.

Basically the entire computer industry has been shaped by the anti-competitive tactics ms did in the past decades.