• The International Trade Commission has rejected a claim by Motorola Mobility Inc. that one of its patents was infringed by Microsoft Corporation’s popular Xbox video game system. When Motorola originally filed its ITC action in 2010, it claimed that five of its patents had been infringed, but it later narrowed the case to a single patent. An ITC administrative law judge ruled this past March that Microsoft hadn’t infringed that patent, and the full commission affirmed the judge’s decision on Thursday, as Reuters reports here.
Had Motorola prevailed, it could have asked the ITC to ban the importation of the Xbox into the United States. According to this Foss Patents post, the ITC loss again calls into question Google Inc.’s decision to buy Motorola last year for $12.5 billion. "[Google's] litigation results are too miserable to justify even a fraction of that amount," Foss Patents writes.
• It didn’t take long for a ruling in one case involving standards-essential patents to be cited in another fight over SEPs. On May 21, U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte in San Francisco ruled that chip designer LSI Corp. breached a contractual duty to license its SEPs to rival RealTek Semiconductor Corp. on reasonable and nondiscriminatory (RAND) terms. (We reported on Whyte’s ruling here.) The next day, Apple Inc. cited Whyte’s decision in a brief filed in its ITC dispute with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., as Foss Patents writes here.
Whyte found that LSI had engaged in "improper" conduct because it failed to offer its patents on a RAND basis to RealTek before bringing its ITC claim against its rival. Samsung did the same thing, Apple alleges in its brief. The ITC is scheduled to deliver its decision in Samsung’s case against Apple on May 31.
Lawmakers are paying attention to the disputes over SEPs. Foss Patents reports here and here that members of the House and Senate sent separate letters to the ITC this month about standards-essential patents.
• Patent trolls also continue to rank high on the congressional agenda. The Patently-O blog writes in this post that Senator John Conryn (R-Texas) has introduced the Patent Abuse Reduction Act. The Senate bill shares some of the same features as the SHIELD Act, the anti-patent troll bill introduced in the House back in February. But in addition to forcing the loser to pay for the costs of a case after it’s over, Conryn’s proposal would also require more transparency at the beginning of a case. An initial complaint would have to reveal "the identity of any person with a direct financial interest in the outcome of the action, including a right to receive proceeds."