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April 9, 2015

Google wants a jury in Microsoft royalty payment appeal

Appeal also opposes the $14m to be paid by Motorola in damages to Microsoft.

By CBR Staff Writer

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has heard Google’s appeal against the 2012 ruling that fixed the royalty rate to be paid by Microsoft to Motorola.

Google has contended that the rate should have been fixed by a jury rather than a judge. However, the three-member panel observed that a jury trial was not sought by the company at the time.

Chief Judge Sidney Thomas was quoted by Reuters as saying: "It seems pretty clear…that both parties anticipated a bench trial."

Motorola filed a patent infringement case against Microsoft in 2010 alleging that the latter has violated its patents by using the technology in Xbox console game system.

Microsoft, in turn, alleged that Motorola has breached the trade standards by not licensing the patents on a fair and reasonable basis.

The patent infringement case went to trial in 2012 without a jury. The trial judge directed Microsoft to pay $1.8m to Motorola as patent rate, far lower than $4bn sought by Motorola.

In 2013, a jury awarded $14.5m in damages to Microsoft for the breach of contract by Motorola.

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Google, which sold Motorola to Lenovo, has retained the company’s patents, and so its interest in the two cases.

The company is now appealing against the damages awarded to Microsoft, as well as seeking a better compensation in the patent infringement case.

The ruling of the 9th US Circuit Court is expected to take some months to come, even as the industry players are keen on the outcome to know the potential rate for standard-essential patents (SEPs).

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