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Microsoft sues Motorola, again

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Microsoft escalated its legal battle with Motorola Inc. on Tuesday with a lawsuit accusing the phone maker of charging inflated royalties for networking technology that the software giant uses in its Xbox gaming system.

The suit, filed in federal court in Seattle, comes on the heels of another lawsuit filed by Microsoft against its former partner in October, accusing Motorola of violating a number of Microsoft trade patents in some of its Android-backed smart phones.

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The latest suit accuses Motorola of breaching its commitments to standards organizations such as the International Telecommunications Union that allow other companies to license its patents connected to wireless technology and video coding, which Microsoft uses in its Xbox console.

According to Microsoft, Motorola demanded ‘royalty payments that are wholly disproportionate to the royalty rate that its patents should command under any reasonable calculus.’ Microsoft is seeking unspecified damages and asked the court to declare that the royalties charged are unreasonable.

The October lawsuit brought to light the heated competition between software manufacturers and phone makers in the smart phone market. Over the last few years, Microsoft has ceded ground to Apple’s iPhone, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry and phones running on Google’s Android operating system.

Microsoft hopes to shed its staid reputation and gain a strong foothold in the smart phone market with its new Windows Phone 7 operating system. Smart phones running on the OS hit shelves Monday.

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— Shan Li


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