Motorola retaliates with lawsuit against Microsoft

Motorola’s mobile phone subsidiary has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft alleging the world’s largest software maker has infringed 16 of its patents in PC, mobile and server software, as well as Xbox products.

The lawsuit comes just a day after Microsoft filed its second lawsuit against Motorola in recent months. Last month, Microsoft took aim at Motorola for the alleged infringement of nine patents in Motorola handsets that use Google’s Android mobile software. On Tuesday, Microsoft filed suit against Motorola over licensing terms for technology Microsoft uses in its Xbox game machines.

Motorola Mobility filed the current lawsuit in the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of Florida and the Western District of Wisconsin, it said in a statement Wednesday. The patents are related to a number of technologies, including digital video coding, e-mail technology including in Exchange, Messenger and Outlook, and Windows Live instant messaging software. Motorola also directly attacked the Xbox patents in question in the recent Microsoft case, which are related to video coding and Wi-Fi technology.

“Motorola Mobility has requested that Microsoft cease using Motorola’s patented technology and provide compensation for Microsoft’s past infringement,” Motorola said. “Motorola has invested billions of dollars in R&D to create a deep and broad intellectual property portfolio and we will continue to do what is necessary to protect our proprietary technology.”

Motorola also noted the lawsuits filed by Microsoft, calling the actions “unfortunate,” because, “Microsoft has chosen the litigation path rather than entering into comprehensive licensing negotiations, as Motorola has mutually beneficial licensing relationships with the great majority of technology companies industry-wide.”

“We are still reviewing Motorola’s filing, which we just received,” said Horacio Gutierrez, deputy general counsel of intellectual property and licensing for Microsoft, in a statement.

“This move is typical of the litigation process and we are not surprised. We remain confident in our position and will continue to move forward with the complaints we initiated against Motorola in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and with the International Trade Commission,” he added.

Motorola has been involved in a lot of high profile litigation recently. The company also recently sued, and has been sued in return by Apple over technologies in a range of products, including smartphones and touchscreens.

Analysts say much of the lawsuit activity is competitive and aimed at Android because the mobile software has gained popularity so quickly.

Motorola’s smartphone sales rose to 3.8 million in the third quarter from 2.7 million in the second quarter, partly due to the success of its Droid X smartphone, an Android-based handset.

The NPD Group recently noted that Android-based smartphones outsold iPhones in the U.S. by almost two-to-one in the third quarter. The market researcher said Android handsets accounted for 44 percent of all consumer smartphone sales in the period, while Apple’s iOS, the software in the iPhone, took 23 percent. Research in Motion’s portion of the market was 22 percent.

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