A skirmish between Motorola and Microsoft over patented technology used in the Xbox 360 game console has been escalated to the next level with expanded countering lawsuits, plus a complaint to the United States International Trade Commission (USITC), which could put a stop to shipments of the game consoles to the US.
The USITC opened up their investigation of the situation on the 17th of this month, following the complaint filed by Motorola on November 22nd. The corporation is asking for a cease and desist order to prevent Microsoft from importing the consoles, and an exclusion order to keep them from entering the United States.
The problems between the two corporate giants began earlier this year when Microsoft filed suit against Motorola for allegedly infringing on their patents with their Android smart phones. Just a month later, Microsoft filed another suit claiming that Motorola was charging them “excessive royalties” for the use of network technology that is used in the manufacturing of Xbox 360s.
Motorola quickly retaliated with a countersuit, which claimed that Microsoft violated 16 different patents among their Windows, mobile phone, and Xbox 360 product lines. The Xbox-related patent infringements include H.264 video, Wi-Fi, and password functionalities used in the console.
The scope of both Microsoft’s case and Motorola’s countersuit were expanded last week, just after the USITC investigation became public. Motorola is now claiming that the Kinect motion-sensing controller for the Xbox 360 infringes on two of their patents, while Microsoft added seven new patent violations onto their suit, which now includes DVR boxes manufactured by Motorola.
The USITC must now schedule a target date for completing their investigation within 45 days from the date it began. The case must also be assigned to an administrative law judge, who will then have to schedule an evidentiary hearing.
It’s unclear just how likely it is that Motorola could succeed in blocking Xbox 360 shipments, but the threat is definitely very real. There is obviously a lot at stake if these two companies cannot find a peaceful way to resolve their issues.