Judge Rules in Favor of Motorola in Licensing Fee Dispute With Microsoft

In The News
March 1, 2012
Jesse J. Jenner
Steven Pepe , Kevin J. Post
A federal judge in Washington State issued a favorable summary judgment ruling in all important respects to Ropes & Gray client Motorola Mobility, Inc. on Monday, in its ongoing dispute with Microsoft Corporation.

U.S. District Judge James Robart denied Microsoft’s claim that Motorola was required to offer so-called RAND (reasonable and non-discriminatory) license terms at the outset of the negotiation, rather than to negotiate with Microsoft in order to reach a final contract on RAND terms and that Motorola’s license offers to Microsoft were not, in fact, on RAND terms. The Court also granted uncontested portions of Microsoft’s motion.

In denying the critical portions of the motion, Judge Robart said Microsoft did not provide the court with any law regarding contract interpretation of Motorola’s alleged breach of its RAND obligations. He also stated that at this point in the proceedings, Microsoft’s contention that Motorola’s RAND demands are “exorbitant” is irrelevant.

“Microsoft has jumped the gun by focusing on Motorola’s actions as opposed to how the court should interpret the [standards group policies] with respect to whether initial offers must be on [reasonable and nondiscriminatory] terms,” the order stated.

This litigation is part of a global dispute between Motorola and Microsoft involving over 40 patents asserted in U.S. District Court, the International Trade Commission and Germany involving nearly every current Motorola and Microsoft product.

The Ropes & Gray team was led by New York-based IP litigation partner Jesse Jenner and included New York-based IP litigation partner Steve Pepe and D.C.-based litigation associates Kevin Post and Matt Rizzolo