Motorola has won an injunction against Windows 7 and the Xbox 360 in Germany - but a sales ban remains unlikely, for now.

A judge at the German Mannheim Regional Court today ruled against Microsoft in the case of four lawsuits filed by Motorola relating to patents that cover the H.264 video encoding standard - the format in which roughly 80 per cent of all digital videos are recorded.

The injunction relates to the distribution of Windows 7, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and the Xbox 360. Motorola also wants products involved to be recalled from retail and destroyed.

Microsoft wants Motorola to license the patents under fair and reasonable terms, which it is required to do under antitrust laws, claiming they will "kill video on the web" if they don't. Motorola demands royalties estimated at $4 billion annually - terms Microsoft refuses to accept.

According to Foss Patents' Florian Mueller, this royalty estimate was intended to force Microsoft into a broad cross-license agreement. The European Commission is investigating Motorola over suspicions that this conduct violates EU antitrust law.

Foss Patents explained that the injunction is unenforceable at this time, due to Microsoft's inevitable appeal and the likelihood it will be found to have been improperly granted. But the biggest obstacle to Motorola's cause lies in the US, and the decision made by a US court relating to Microsoft's call to enforce Motorola's licensing promise on a worldwide basis.

"If Microsoft keeps on winning decision after decision in that litigation, Motorola won't get to enforce the German decision," Mueller said.

A full panel will review the decision of the US International Trade Commission judge in August. If the decision stands and Microsoft doesn't settle, Motorola could theoretically force it to halt all US-bound Xbox 360 imports.

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

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