Another ongoing patent war rages on, and once again, things aren't going well for Google-owned Motorola Mobility.
Microsoft won a reported third victory in a German court Thursday, this one granting the Redmond, Wash. tech giant the option of banning several Motorola smartphones and tablets.
All Microsoft has to do is pay a $61.4 million (£3.78 million) bond, which the company may well consider worth it.
Google has the option of licensing the infringing technology from Microsoft, as Android makers like HTC and Samsung have already done, accepting the ban, or appealing, an option the search firm has said it's considering.
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Microsoft and Google/Motorola release statements
The patents in question involve "a method and system for receiving user input data into a computer system having a graphical windowing environment."
No matter how vague that may seem to laymen, the court has sided with Microsoft, and other Android makers have already conceded and begun paying Microsoft royalties.
Only Google (through Motorola) is holding out, and has released a statement that reads, "We are waiting for the written decision and are evaluating our options, including an appeal."
Microsoft, meanwhile, seems quite happy with the ruling: "We're pleased this decision builds on previous rulings in Germany that have already found Motorola is broadly infringing Microsoft's intellectual property," said Dave Howard, Microsoft's deputy general counsel, in a statement.
"We will continue to enforce injunctions against Motorola products in Germany and hope Motorola will join other Android device makers by taking a license to Microsoft's patented inventions," he continued.
Who will scorch the sky?
Global legal battles between companies including Microsoft, Google, Apple, and countless others are becoming increasingly muddled, and it's next to impossible to keep track of them all.
In Germany alone this year, Motorola made considerable strides toward getting Microsoft's Xbox 360 banned from sale; Motorola suffered another loss, this one at Apple's hands, with that coming mere weeks after Motorola and Apple had reportedly reached an agreement in that country.
Meanwhile, the balance between Motorola and Microsoft has tipped in Microsoft's favor in the U.S. as well, with Motorola devices banned by the International Trade Commission in May for an entirely different patent than the one in the German dispute.
Nevertheless, that ITC-ordered injunction didn't stop Motorola from selling infringing Android devices over the summer, and who's to say a similar ban in Germany will be any more effective?
As in the apocalyptic human-A.I. war in The Matrix, it's unknown who in this great battle struck the first blow. The question that remains, though, is who will ultimately scorch the tech market's sky?