With Apple being centered around 60% of all the legal patent wars raging around the world, it's easy to forget that there are other battles being lost and won. One in particular is that Microsoft won an ITC ruling against Motorola and secured an import ban on a huge swath of Motorola products. That ban will be taking effect starting today, and will continue until April 10, 2018, which is when the patent expires. This basically means that certain Motorola products cannot be imported into the U.S. for sale. It doesn't forbid the sales of those products if they are already on store shelves.
The patent that is being infringed pertains to Microsoft's Exchange Active Sync and covers the generation of meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device. Originally, Microsoft simply wanted Motorola to license the technology, but Motorola basically refused to do so, so Microsoft requested this import ban. The products on the exclusion list are the following (although they are not limited to these products alone and automatically include any product that violates the patent): the Motorola Atrix, Backflip, Bravo, Charm, Cliq, Cliq 2, Cliq XT, Defy, Devour, Droid 2, Droid 2 Global, Droid Pro, Droid X, Droid X2, Flipout, Flipside, Spice, and Xoom.
A Microsoft representative said, "The exclusion order is not limited to these devices at issue in the ITC, but will cover all infringing devices from now until to the expiration of the patent, April 10, 2018." In fact, the ITC's exclusion order does not specify certain Motorola devices, but instead generally states that "Mobile devices, associated software and components thereof covered by claims 1, 2, 5, or 6 of United States Patent No. 6,370,566 that are manufactured abroad by or on behalf of, or imported by or on behalf of, Respondent [i.e. Motorola] or any of its afﬁliated companies, parents, subsidiaries, successors, assigns, or other related business entities, are excluded from entry for consumption into the United States, entry for consumption from a foreign trade zone, or withdrawal from a warehouse for consumption, for the remaining term of the patent."
This was Motorola's statement on the matter,
Of course, Google now owns Motorola, so they commented on the subject as well. They siad they have a workaround for this ban although they were loose on any detail. Here is their statement,"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. We respect the value of intellectual property and expect other companies to do the same."
It will be interesting to see what their workaround is, and of course we will keep you apprised when more info is shared."While we can't share specific details, we have employed a range of proactive measures to ensure there is no continuing infringement under the ITC's interpretation of this single Microsoft patent," Motorola Mobility spokeswoman Becki Leonard said in an emailed statement.