Xbox 360: ITC Judge recommends U.S. Ban

May 24, 2012 10:03 AM EDT

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Patent wars are getting dirtier day by day. Not only they result in loss of thousands of dollars for companies, but also result in frustration for consumers. Earlier Microsoft was successful in banning Motorola smartphones. Now Motorola is punching back with Xbox 360 ban in U.S. and the gaming console might get pulled away from shelves in upcoming few months.

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A judge at International Trade Commission (ITC) has issued a recommendation for import ban on Xbox 360 gaming console. The ban is limited to 4GB and 250GB edition of Xbox 360. The ban is a part of Motorola's complaint filed with ITC in November 2010. Motorola claimed that Microsoft has been utilizing Motorola-developed technology that allows the gaming console to initiate secure connection between the set-top box and its controller.

The ruling follows Administrative law judge David Shaw's last month decision that 4GB and 250GB variants of Xbox 360 infringe four Motorola patents related to H.264 video compression codec and wireless technology.  The administrative law judge also ordered Microsoft to post a bond equal to 7 percent of the declared value of unsold Xbox inventory already in the country. Shaw suggested a cease and desist order to prevent sales of Xbox 360.

Microsoft argued with the decision, claiming for exclusion order contrary to public interest. With Xbox 360 gone, only Nintendo Wii and Sony Playstation 3 will be available gaming consoles in the market. Judge Shaw disagreed with Microsoft, pointing out that the company failed to respond to ITC's request in November 2010.

Motorola and Microsoft have been wrestling in patent wars for past few years. Earlier this month, Motorola was able to place ban on Window 7 and Xbox 360 in Germany.

As the next step, the recommendation will go to Board of Commissioners at ITC. If the recommendation is approved, it will be sent to President's desk where he will have to review and sign it within 60 days. So, there is still some time for Microsoft to arrange a settlement with Motorola.


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