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Microsoft vs Motorola legal row gets nasty

Judge accuses warring factions of "arrogance", "hubris".

The ongoing legal dispute between Motorola and Microsoft over the latter's alleged patent infringements has heated up, with a presiding US judge scolding both parties for their behavior so far.

As reported by GamesIndustry International, Judge James Robart accused the warring factions of using the US District Court as "a pawn in a global, industry-wide business negotiation." He added that both sides are clearly "driven by an attempt to secure commercial advantage".

"To an outsider looking at it, it has been arbitrary, it has been arrogant and frankly it has been based on hubris," he said.

Motorola has accused Microsoft of infringing its patents in Xbox 360 components, while Microsoft claims Motorola is in breach of contract.

A German court has already ruled in favour of Motorola, granting an injunction prohibiting sales of the console in the country. However, Robart has issued a temporary restraining order preventing Motorola from enforcing that decision until he has ruled on the US case.

Yesterday he announced that he needs more time to come to a conclusion. According to the Seattle Times, it's thought he will likely deny Microsoft's claim that Motorola breached its contract, but also deny Motorola's motion that Microsoft gave up its right to licenses under reasonable terms.

There's also a parallel dispute running in the US Trade Commission. If rulings go against Microsoft in both cases, it could be banned from importing Xbox 360s into the US from China, with serious ramifications for its production costs.

"We look forward to seeing Judge Robart's decision on today's hearing and we are pleased the temporary restraining order remains in place pending the further ruling from the court," said a Microsoft spokesperson.

Meanwhile, Motorola said: "We remain confident that Motorola Mobility has honored its FRAND commitments, and have a long history of successful and amicable cross-licensing relationships with more than 50 companies.

"Despite this, Microsoft has refused to negotiate and has instead initiated and continued to pursue an aggressive litigation strategy aimed at attacking Motorola Mobility and the Android platform.

"Regardless of their transparent tactics, we are focused on resolving this matter in a way that fairly compensates Motorola Mobility for the use of our valuable IP and protects the interests of our stakeholders."

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Fred Dutton avatar

Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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