Software patents are the absolute worst. Instead of rewarding innovation, they’ve instead become a kind of ammunition used by the smartphone heavyweights, trying to chip away at each other’s success. If you’re wondering why you don’t have an HTC EVO 4G LTE at the moment, you can blame just the kind of legal shenanigans these sort of patents enable. The latest unfortunate victim is Motorola, which just got slapped with an import ban on its Androids which violate a Microsoft patent.
The United States International Trade Commission has now backed-up an earlier ruling which found Motorola in violation. As a result, unless Motorola takes steps to make sure its phones don’t feature technology covered by Microsoft’s patent, it will be unable to import them into the US as of sixty days from now.
What’s Microsoft’s grand innovation, so important to protect? The ability to confirm a request for a meeting from a mobile device.
Taking obvious features we’ve been using on computers for years and tacking on the description “from a mobile device” in order to get a new patent is just awful. Microsoft’s not so much to blame here, as if it didn’t patent something so ridiculous, another company certainly would, but instead the responsibility lies with those individuals behind the legal rulings that gave rise to allowing for this sort of anti-competitive nonsense.
Motorola says this won’t affect its business much in the immediate future, and that it may try to appeal the ruling.