It's hard to single out winners and losers in the ongoing patent wars ravaging the technology landscape, but the flow of battle seems to have turned against Motorola Mobility. Earlier this week, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that the company infringed on a Microsoft patent and ordered an import ban on Motorola smartphones that utilized the technology in question; today, PCMag reports that a Munich court found Motorola guilty of infringing yet another Microsoft patent -- one that will be difficult to work around without extensive engineering tricks.
The infringed patent in the Munich case covers "communicating multi-part messages between cellular devices using a standardized interface." Noted patent blogger Florian Mueller describes the difficulty of developing a software fix to replace the infringing technology on his FOSS Patents website:
Android apps that make use of Android's messaging layer would have to be rewritten, and some functionality that Android used to provide to app developers would have to be implemented by the affected applications themselves.
Mueller expects Motorola Mobility to enter a licensing agreement with Microsoft in short order, joining the ranks of HTC, Samsung and LG, all of which have already inked Android-related patent deals with Microsoft.
The good news is that it's not all bad news: yesterday, a jury decided that Google, Motorola Mobility's owner, didn't infringe Oracle copyrights and patents while developing the Android operating system.