The patent case by Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Motorola Mobility against Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) just lost two of its three teeth, as two key patents in the suit were dropped. It’s not clear which two were dropped, but the result could be Microsoft saving hundreds of millions of dollars each year and avoiding sales bans.
Motorola had been fighting Microsoft over its use of three patents, including one for video compression and a WiFi patent. While previously Microsoft was pushing for each patent to be valued at less than $1 million per year, Motorola sought to receive a percentage of Microsoft’s sales on products using the patents, which could have amounted to more than $100 million a year. In addition, Motorola wanted a sales ban on Microsoft’s infringing products. Now, Microsoft may be facing much less dire costs over the one remaining patent claim.
Why the change of heart?
There were two key factors in the change in circumstances. First, Microsoft claimed the two patents in question were standard essential patents, over which the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Department of Justice, and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office assert that companies not seek sales bans. Second, in order to settle two anti-trust investigations against Google by the Federal Trade Commission, Google was required to drop the two patent claims altogether.
What’s left to say?
If either the WiFi or the video compression patent are still in play, there could still be a significant amount of money in the balance. Whatever the case, Microsoft is pleased with results and is now hopeful that Google will “withdraw similar claims pending in other jurisdictions,” as there is still potential for troubles between the two companies outside of the case overseen by the International Trade Commission.
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