Motorola Mobility has scored another patent victory over Microsoft in Germany.
Judge Holger Kircher of the Mannheim Regional Court today awarded Motorola an injunction against Windows 7, the Xbox 360, Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player after finding them in violation of patents related to "adaptive motion compensation" and "adaptive compression of digital video data."
According to FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller, who was first to report on the story, the injunction would allow Motorola to ban the distribution of Microsoft's products, as well as recall and destroy Windows 7 and Xbox 360 units that are currently on German store shelves. However, Mueller says that Motorola is facing some hurdles if it wants to enforce the bans.
For one thing, once Microsoft appeals the ruling -- something the company has said that it will do -- the injunction can only be enforced by Motorola posting "hundreds of millions of euros" as bond to secure any revenue Microsoft might lose in the event the bans are overturned by a higher court. In addition, the higher German court might stop the ban until it can make a final ruling.
Microsoft and Motorola are waging a similar patent battle in the U.S., which Mueller says, could prove to be another barrier.
"The third major challenge for Motorola is probably the steepest one: Judge James L. Robart of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington won't allow an end-run around his FRAND case," Mueller, who has been following the patents cases closely over the last couple of years, wrote today in a blog post. "In November 2010, eight months before Motorola brought these German lawsuits, Microsoft filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in order to enforce Motorola's own FRAND licensing promise on a worldwide basis, and if Microsoft keeps on winning decision after decision in that litigation, Motorola won't get to enforce the German decision."
Mueller's contention seems to hold up. Last month, the U.S. district court judge ruled that Motorola can't ban Microsoft products from sale in Germany until his proceedings are completed.
At the center of all of the litigation involving Microsoft and Motorola is FRAND (fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory) licensing. Microsoft argues that Motorola is not offering its industry-standard H.264 patents on a fair basis. Motorola argues that Microsoft is violating its patents, and wants the software giant to make it right. So far, however, neither side has gained a real upper hand in the cases.
Looking ahead, Microsoft and Motorola are due to meet in a U.S. court on May 7. And considering neither side has waved a white flag, expect many more court dates in the coming weeks and months.
"This is one step in a long process, and we are confident that Motorola will eventually be held to its promise to make its standard essential patents available on fair and reasonable terms for the benefit of consumers who enjoy video on the web," a Microsoft spokesperson wrote today in an e-mailed statement. "Motorola is prohibited from acting on today's decision, and our business in Germany will continue as usual while we appeal this decision and pursue the fundamental issue of Motorola's broken promise."
CNET has contacted Motorola for comment on today's ruling. We will update this story when we have more information.
Update 6:09 a.m. PT to include Microsoft's comment.