Microsoft Sues U.S. Customs for Not Enforcing Import Ban on Motorola Devices
Microsoft has sued the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office after it refused to enforce an ITC order to block imports of Motorola phones, reports Bloomberg.
In May 2012, the U.S. International Trade Commission issued a ban on Motorola devices for infringing a Microsoft patent on synchronizing calendar events with other computers. That ban was never enforced due to secret meeting between Google and U.S. Customs, alleges the suit.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, after having secret meetings with Google, continued to let the Motorola Mobility mobile phones enter the country even though Google has done nothing to remove the feature at the heart of the ITC case, Microsoft said in the complaint. The case illustrates what Lexmark International Inc. (LXK) and Lutron Electronics Co. in May called an “increasingly ineffective and unpredictable enforcement” of import bans imposed by the trade agency.
“Customs has a clear responsibility to carry out ITC decisions, which are reached after a full trial and rigorous legal review,” Microsoft Deputy General Counsel David Howard said in a statement. “Here Customs repeatedly ignored its obligation and did so based on secret discussions.”
Motorola apparently convinced the agency that the order didn't apply to syncing via Google's servers rather than Microsoft's servers, and convinced Customs to give the company a grace period for the changes to take effect. Microsoft says the ITC rejected both of these requests before issuing its ban.
Google says, “U.S. Customs appropriately rejected Microsoft’s effort to broaden its patent claims to block Americans from using a wide range of legitimate calendar functions, like scheduling meetings, on their mobile phones. We’re confident that the court will agree.”