Recent court ruling may have nudged Google, Microsoft to settle patent disputes – Computerworld

A few days before Microsoft and Google announced that they were dropping their patent disputes, a decision in an appeals court may have helped the two companies focus on a lasting compromise over their expensive lawsuits over smartphone and other patents.

On Sept. 15, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied Motorola’s appeal for a full-bench rehearing on its petition.

The appeals court had earlier upheld an order of a district court in Seattle setting royalty rates for Motorola’s standard essential patents in the areas of H.264 video-coding standard and the 802.11 WLAN standard, at rates lower than expected by Motorola.  The appeals court also upheld  a subsequent jury verdict finding breach of contract and awarding Microsoft $14.5 million in damages, including $3 million in attorneys’ fees because of Motorola’s “conduct in seeking injunctive relief” for Microsoft’s use of the patents in some of its products.

Standard-essential patents are patents that are included in standards on the understanding that they will be licensed on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

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