06 August 2015
Reporter: Mark Dugdale and Tammy Facey

Google fails to overturn FRAND ruling

Google acted in bad faith by trying to charge Microsoft a premium on patents essential to WiFi and video compression standards, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled.

Ninth Circuit Judge Marsha Berzon delivered the majority opinion on 30 July that Google, which inherited the dispute when it bought Motorola Mobility in 2012, breached an obligation to license standard-essential patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

US District Court for the Western District of Washington Judge James Robart affirmed a $14.5 million damages award in 2013, backing a jury finding that Google’s Motorola repeatedly breached its contractual obligations by demanding unreasonably high royalty rates and seeking injunctions in Germany that forced Microsoft to relocate a factory.

On appeal, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s ruling, saying: “With the parties’ consent, the district court conducted a lengthy, thorough bench trial on the FRAND rate and range. The court analysed that evidence in its exhaustive findings of fact and conclusions of law, in a manner consistent with the Federal Circuit’s recent approach to establishing damages in the FRAND context.”

“The court’s factual findings were properly admitted at the jury trial. The jury’s verdict was supported by substantial evidence, and its damages award was proper.”

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