Xbox sales banned in Germany after Motorola court case

03/05/2012

A number of Microsoft products, including Windows 7 OS, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and the Xbox console have been banned from sale in Germany, following an extraordinary ruling declared this week in a Mannheim court. The shock ruling is due to Motorola Mobility, a phones company which Google is in the process of acquiring, today being granted an injunction against the distribution of key Microsoft products in Germany.

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As a result, Microsoft will no longer be able to distribute the console to retailers, and may be forced to recall systems sitting on shop shelves and have them destroyed.

The ruling will not come into effect until Microsoft’s appeal process has concluded.

Motorola Mobility, which last year posted an annual loss of $145 million, was successful in convincing the court that Microsoft had infringed two patents central to the H.264 video coding and playback.

"We are pleased that the Mannheim Court found that Microsoft products infringe Motorola Mobility's intellectual property,” Motorola Mobility said in a statement.

The handset maker is in the process of being taken over by Google.

The company said it was still keen on resolving the matter, but Microsoft believes that meeting all demands would cost it about $4 billion each year.

Microsoft said it planned to appeal the German ruling.

"This is one step in a long process, and we are confident that Motorola will eventually 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," a Microsoft spokesman told the BBC.

"Motorola is prohibited from acting on today's decision, and our business in Germany will continue as usual while we appeal this decision and pursue the fundamental issue of Motorola's broken promise."

Microsoft moved its European software distribution centre from Germany to the Netherlands last month ahead of the verdict to minimise potential disruption.

However, Motorola cannot enforce the ruling until a Seattle-based judge lifts a restraining order.

A hearing is scheduled for 7 May, although the judge may issue his ruling at a later date.

The German case is also likely to be considered by the European Commission.

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