Last month, Administrative Judge David Shaw at the US International Trade Commission decided that Xbox had been in violation of four Motorola patents in relation to the H.264 video compression codec technology. He did not have a final ruling until this past Monday, where he recommended that the Xbox 360 should see a sales and import ban in the United States, similar to the ruling in Germany (Motorola has been asked to not yet act on the ban there because of the ongoing ruling here in the US).
From here, the case will now move onto the ITC's six-person board of commissions where a decision has to be made by August 23rd on whether to change the ruling or let it pass on to the Obama administration. President Obama then has a 60-day review period to either sign-off, or overturn the decision.
To clarify, the Xbox 360 is not currently banned in the United States. In fact, Microsoft is quite confident the Commission will ultimately rule in their favor, citing that Motorola will be "held to its promise to make its standard essential patents available on fair and reasonable terms for the benefit of consumers who enjoy video on the web."
The ruling is even more interesting considering that last week, the ITC ruled in Microsoft's favor for a sales and import ban on all Motorola smartphones and tablets for a patent violation on those devices. It's pretty astounding to think that there is a chance that no Xbox 360s and Motorola phones or tablets could be imported or sold in the United States when the dust settles.
If the rulings do pass, both companies would see extreme losses, with Microsoft having to pay Motorola for every single Xbox 360 sold in the United States up to this point (for the record, that's over 25 million of them) and Motorola would take an enormous hit as phones and tablets take up a large percentage of the business. Hopefully the two companies can just agree to disagree and let each other license out the patents before this gets out of hand.
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