Motorola's Android phones infringe Microsoft SMS patent, German court rules

Microsoft's aim is a licensing deal with Motorola

Motorola Mobility's Android phones infringe on a Microsoft text messaging patent, the Higher District Court of Munich ruled on Thursday.

The German court ruled that Motorola infringes on a Microsoft patent that allows a phone to break up a long text message from a sender and reassemble it for the person receiving it. The technology is used as a way to send longer text messages over the air.

The appeal was rejected and Motorola has to bear all the costs of the appeal, said Wilhelm Schneider, spokesman for the Higher District Court of Munich in an email. "An appeal against this decision was not approved," Schneider added.

"Generally this decision prevents Motorola from selling its Android phones in Germany," Microsoft spokesman Thomas Baumgärtner said in an email. "We are gratified the court has affirmed the District Courts original decision and that Motorola remains unable to sell infringing products in Germany," he added.

Microsoft was granted an injunction against Google-owned Motorola Mobility on basis of the same patent in May 2012, when the lower District Court of Munich ruled that Motorola infringed on the patent. Since then, Microsoft has enforced an injunction in Germany requiring Motorola to remove infringing products from its sales channels.

Motorola did not respond to a request for comment.

Microsoft wants to strike a licensing agreement with Motorola "like we have with so many other Android makers," Baumgärtner said.

Android vendors including Samsung and HTC have licensed the technology from Microsoft.

Last July, the District Court of Mannheim ruled that Motorola infringed on Microsoft's FAT (File Allocation Table) patent that concerns a "common name space for long and short filenames for internal storage." The court banned the sales of Motorola phones that infringe on that patent including the Motorola Atrix, the Droid Razr and the Droid Razr Maxx.

Microsoft was also granted an injunction against Motorola in September last year by the District Court of Munich for infringement on a patent that describes a method for handling communication between a keyboard and an application. However, Microsoft was denied a fourth sales ban it sought on the basis of a radio interface patent by the District Court of Mannheim in October.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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