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Microsoft Seeks to Invalidate Motorola Patent in U.K. Trial

Microsoft Corp., the world’s biggest software maker, asked a U.K. judge to invalidate Motorola Mobility’s European patent protection for synchronizing message statuses across multiple devices.

Microsoft sued Google Inc.’s Motorola Mobility last December in a preemptive challenge to a 2002 patent it claims shouldn’t have been issued because the technology was obvious to experts in the field at the time, Microsoft’s lawyers said at a week-long trial scheduled to end today in London.

“We’re grateful for the chance to demonstrate that Motorola’s claims based on this patent are unfounded,” David Howard, a deputy general counsel at Microsoft, said in an e-mailed statement about the latest salvo in a global dispute.

The companies are locked in legal battles over patents for smartphone technology and Xbox gaming software in the U.S. and Germany. Microsoft claims all devices that run on Google’s Android operating system use its technology and is seeking royalties from Motorola Mobility. Motorola Mobility, which Mountain View, California-based Google acquired in May, says it’s owed royalties on the Xbox for use of the company’s Wi-Fi and video-compression technology.

Motorola’s lawyer, Zoe Butler of Powell Gilbert in London, declined to comment. The company’s press office didn’t immediately respond to a phone message.

While the patent in the U.K. trial relates to pager technology from the 1990s, the arguments center on its application to newer mobile devices and computers.

The case is running parallel to Motorola’s lawsuit against Microsoft over the same patent in Germany, where the companies are awaiting a decision from a judge. Google has said it bought Motorola Mobility in part because of its patents and history of innovation in mobile phones.

The case is: Microsoft Corporation v. Motorola Mobility Inc., case no. HC11C04536, High Court of London, Chancery Division (London).

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