Microsoft Sues U.S. Customs for Not Enforcing Google Phone Ban

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) filed a lawsuit today accusing U.S. Customs officials of refusing to follow a trade agency’s order to block imports of phones made by Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Motorola Mobility unit.

The U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington issued the import ban in May 2012 after deciding that Motorola Mobility devices infringed a Microsoft patent for a way mobile phones synchronize calendar events with other computers.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, after having secret meetings with Google, continued to let the Motorola Mobility mobile phones enter the country even though Google has done nothing to remove the feature at the heart of the ITC case, Microsoft said in the complaint. The case illustrates what Lexmark International Inc. and Lutron Electronics Co. in May called an “increasingly ineffective and unpredictable enforcement” of import bans imposed by the trade agency.

“Customs has a clear responsibility to carry out ITC decisions, which are reached after a full trial and rigorous legal review,” Microsoft Deputy General Counsel David Howard said in a statement. “Here Customs repeatedly ignored its obligation and did so based on secret discussions.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Elizabeth Wasserman at ewasserman2@bloomberg.net

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