Microsoft Corp takes on Googles Motorola Mobility unit this week in the second of two landmark trials between the companies that delve into hot disputes over the patents behind smartphone and Internet technology.
The jury trial,starting Monday in federal court in Seattle,is set to resolve whether Motorola breached its contract with Microsoft to license on reasonable terms its so-called standard essential patents,covering wireless and video technology used in the Xbox game console.
The proceeding comes days after Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer unexpectedly announced his retirement. It also follows a complex trial last November that decided what the appropriate fee for Microsofts use of Motorola-patented technology should be.
After five months of deliberation,US District Judge James Robart came down heavily in Microsofts favor,saying it owed only a fraction of the royalties Motorola had claimed,suggesting the appropriate rate was about $1.8 million,above Microsofts estimate of $1 million,but well below Motorolas demand for as much as $4 billion a year.
Motorola cannot appeal Robarts April ruling until after the jury decides the second phase of the case.
In a court filing,Microsoft said it had offered to pay Motorola $6.8 million in past royalties,based on its application of Robarts order. However,Motorola rejected the money,the filing said.