A ban on Motorola devices in the U.S. was scheduled to go into effect today, but the Google-owned company said it has come up with a workaround to address the patent violation that prompted the ban.
In May, the International Trade Commission (ITC) ordered an import ban on Android-based Motorola devices that infringe on a Microsoft-held patent.
The patent in question covers technology for “generating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device.” unless Motorola removes the infringing technology from its gadgets or comes to a licensing agreement with Microsoft, it will not be able to import and sell them in the U.S. – starting today.
In a statement, Motorola said it has taken “proactive measures” to avoid a ban.
“In view of the ITC exclusion order which becomes effective Wednesday with respect to the single ActiveSync patent upheld in Microsoft’s ITC-744 proceeding, Motorola has taken proactive measures to ensure that our industry leading smartphones remain available to consumers in the U.S.,” the company said. “We respect the value of intellectual property and expect other companies to do the same.”
The company did not elaborate on what those measures might be.
“Microsoft brought this case only after Motorola stopped licensing our intellectual property but continued to use our inventions in its products,” David Howard, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, said in a statement. “It’s unfortunate we’ve been forced to pursue legal action, but the solution for Motorola remains licensing our intellectual property at market rates as most other Android manufacturers have already done.”
As patent blogger Florian Mueller noted, Motorola will likely have to strip the meeting scheduler functionality from its devices to avoid a ban. “Any software preinstalled on those devices, whether it’s the client software communicating with the Google Calendar service or preloaded social networking apps, won’t be able to let users schedule meetings from those mobile devices,” he wrote in a blog post.
According to Ars Technica, the case focused on but is not limited to a number of older Motorola devices. Microsoft told Ars that the order covers all infringing devices until the patent expires in 2018.
Yesterday, Motorola secured a patent victory over Apple this week when the Düsseldorf court dismissed Apple’s request for a ban on the Motorola Xoom in Germany.
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