Motorola can’t ban the Xbox 360 in the US, judge rules

Good news for gamers stateside, and for fans of common sense everywhere: a judge in the US has ruled that Motorola can’t ban the Xbox 360, The Verge reports.

Motorola wanted to ban the console on the grounds that it infringed its patents. Microsoft claimed in return that Motorola was trying to charge too much to license said patents. And now, two weeks after the trial started in Seattle, US District Court Judge Robart has dismissed Motorola’s case.

Instead of banning the console, Motorola will have to make do with asking for royalties.

Judge Robart ruled that Motorola couldn’t show “irreparable harm or that monetary damages would be inadequate”, and so sided with Microsoft. A ban wouldn’t make sense, he reckoned, because “it is now clear that a license agreement will result for all of Motorola’s H.264 standard essential patents.” (The patents concern the video compression standard.)

The case could spell the end of using FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) patents to ban products, too. The whole point, as the name suggests, is that patents are licensed on fair terms to help widespread adoption, so devices work with each other and us consumers benefit. For companies to then start suing each other over them does seem a bit counterproductive.

Hopefully this will mean fewer court cases over patent disputes, and the companies can get on with making their products as good as they can be.

It’s not all plain sailing for Microsoft, though. The same case is ongoing in Germany, so we’ll have to see how that one pans out. Being a European court, it could have more repercussions for us Brits, too. Watch this space.

Do you think it’s right that Motorola can’t ban the Xbox 360? Should greater steps be taken to stop cases like this reaching court in the first place? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

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