Motorola Tries To Stop Microsoft From Selling Xbox 360

At the request of Motorola, which claims Microsoft is violating its wireless technology patents, the United States International Trade Commission is conducting an investigation that Motorola hopes ends with Microsoft forbidden to import Xboxes.

The USITC will investigate and render its “final determination” within 45 days, then set a target date for completing the investigation. After that point, the USITC can offer up remedial orders that settle the complaint, and those can go into effect within 60 days.

Kotaku speculates that the Motorola complaint is retaliation for Microsoft’s lawsuit against Motorola, in which Microsoft argues that Motorola charged it an unfair royalty rate.

It’s too bad the bickering companies can’t decide to settle this like grown-ups, over a Halo team deathmatch.

USITC INSTITUTES SECTION 337 INVESTIGATION ON CERTAIN GAMING AND ENTERTAINMENT CONSOLES, RELATED SOFTWARE, AND COMPONENTS THEREOF [USITC via Slashdot]

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  1. CountryJustice says:

    Lawyers playing grabass. FRONT PAGE STUFF!

  2. Abradax says:

    Unfair royalty rate?

    Its a contract, so they are whining after the fact?

    • krunk4ever says:

      From a comment on Kotaku:

      Most people don’t seem to realize that Motorola is contractually required to license these technologies at Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory rates, as a condition of being included in IEEE standards. All the bitching about how MS overcharges for hard drives, XBL, etc. is kind of missing the point. It is hypocritical, I’ll grant you that, but MS has no legal obligation to provide those things at RAND rates, while Motorola does.

  3. JennQPublic says:

    Motorola, if you come between me and an Xbox, there will be hell to pay.

    Don’t mess with a girl’s gaming addiction, I’m warning you… >:-|

    • anduin says:

      lol, girls gaming addiction…like such a thing exists

    • sonneillon says:

      Will you marry me?

    • magus_melchior says:

      They probably can’t, unless you’re going to buy another 360.

      And even then, I doubt their case will survive, given that they waited, oh, I don’t know, 5 years after the 360 went on sale?

      Seems to me like Moto’s counsel got bored and decided to go regulator shopping.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      Seriously, if we went away then the basement boys on Xbox Live wouldn’t have girls to talk to anymore.

  4. TasteyCat says:

    So basically, the filing came on the 5 year anniversary of the Xbox 360. Well, at least they acted quickly.

  5. odan says:

    actually find this to be a bit funny, to think that a console in this day in age might be banned from the USA because of a civil hissy fit
    i wonder if this affects all wireless devices which use motorola tech or not.
    As i believe that would also include many keyboard/ mouse combos and a few 3rd party controllers for all 3 systems.

  6. dirtylurker says:

    PS3 owns the XBOX…..

    • Mythandros says:

      In it’s dreams….

    • TasteyCat says:

      Only in Japan. And Europe. And as far as content goes.

    • CookiePuss says:

      Except for Black Ops. I really hope all the Treyarch devs get herpes for Christmas.

    • Mike says:

      I own both, and sadly the PS3 never really lived up to its potential. I use the XBOX three times more than the PS3. That Sony interface is as user friendly as IRS tax code, and no games took advantage of the blu-ray player. I know Sony is in love with their controller design, but I mean come on, couldn’t they have improved it at least a little since the PS2?

      The PS3 has built in wifi and free online gaming, you have to pay for both of those in the XBOX, and I still have 10 times more friends on XBOX live than on PS3.

      Maybe PS4 will beat the next XBOX to market and change the game.

    • cardigan says:

      Actually, correct me if I’m wrong, but Microsoft owns the XBOX.

    • blanddragon says:

      PS3 it’s lame. X-Box Live cleans Sony’s clock. They lost me when they failed to make their console compatible with the THOUSANDS of PS2 games I have. Bought an X-Box 360 never looked back. bye-bye Sony

  7. Ryan says:

    The tactic of taking a company with products that another company would like to obtain royalties for questionable patents to the USITC(ITC) is not uncommon and is really a fairly rotten move.

    A couple of years back, Freescale was banned from importing nearl all of its ARM based processors until the packaging was changed. This change took the affected products off the market for somewhere around two years. The packaging is the plastic and metal that connects the silicon die to a printed circuit board. Changing the packaging is a pain because it takes several months to a year to validate the new chip for manufacture. The patent in this didn’t look exceptionally valid, but I’m no expert in the legal or electrical engineering field. It was related to fine pitch solder ball packaging with wire bond packages. The concept seems like a logical extension after switching to Copper/Silver/Tin solder from Lead/Tin due to the differing properties when the solder is molten. The change over in solder was required due to phase-out of lead in non-essential applications as required for RoHS in the EU. It isn’t cost effective to have a European model and a model for the rest of the world, what would be the European model can still be sold worldwide.

    Then there is Rambus taking nVidia to the ITC over certain patents related to memory controllers that are of questionable value. Rambus won, but it was a Pyrrhic victory, due to previous activity the EC requires Rambus to offer worldwide patent licenses to any company for 5000 euro. It was also a stupid case for nVidia to pursue for the very same reason. No one has ever accused those in charge at Rambus or nVidia of being exceptionally bright, however.

    I assume the problem might be due somewhat to the wireless controllers, Microsoft decided to use an adulterated version of Bluetooth with the Xbox 360, probably to lock in users. The Wii and the PS3 use a standard implementation of Bluetooth and thus probably can use the same patent license available through the Bluetooth trade association just like anyone else making a Bluetooth device. Microsoft probably isn’t so lucky and must negotiate directly with patent holders and must pay higher rates.

    I should also mention that the ITC seems to be the new place to go when one is shopping for a favorable jurisdiction, in much the same way that certain judge in East Texas acts/acted.

  8. krunk4ever says:

    From MechaTama31’s comment on Kotaku:

    Judging by the comments, most people don’t seem to realize that Motorola is contractually required to license these technologies at Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory rates, as a condition of being included in IEEE standards. All the bitching about how MS overcharges for hard drives, XBL, etc. is kind of missing the point. It is hypocritical, I’ll grant you that, but MS has no legal obligation to provide those things at RAND rates, while Motorola does.

  9. cjnewbs says:

    If you have patents for anything attempt to defend them *before* the violator ships 30 million units.

  10. MFfan310 says:

    There’s more to this story: These lawsuits are Microsoft’s revenge to Motorola and vice versa.

    It wasn’t just about royalties. Motorola, which was a Windows Mobile customer for years and an initial Windows Phone 7 launch partner, decided to cancel their plans to launch WP7 phones due to their frustration with the OS. Motorola then decided to focus on Android phones instead. Microsoft then sued Motorola for patent infringement, and Motorola countersued.

    • MrEvil says:

      Can’t say I blame Moto. Windows Phone 7 is a pile of rubbish and I can’t fathom why everyone thinks its so great. The list of features it lacks when compared to other Smartphones (Hell even some dumbphones) is as long as my forearm.