US Judge Forbids Motorola From Using German Injunction Against Microsoft
from the do-as-you-would-be-done-by dept
Here's an interesting development in the legal battle between Microsoft and Motorola in Germany that we discussed recently. It seems that Microsoft is worried that the German court might award Motorola an injunction against it, and so has asked a US judge to stop Motorola from using it in that case -- and he agreed:
In an unusual case, a U.S. judge ruled on Wednesday that Motorola cannot enforce an injunction that would prevent Microsoft from selling Windows products in Germany, should a German court issue such an injunction next week.
So this is a US judge forbidding a company from applying an injunction that it might be awarded in Germany, by a German court. That sounds rather like one jurisdiction is interfering with another, but Microsoft apparently thinks that's reasonable:
Microsoft argued that if the judge would allow that German injunction to go forward, which ultimately might compel Microsoft to negotiate a license according to German law, the U.S. court would lose its opportunity to make its own ruling on similar licensing issues. The U.S. court should be the one to rule on that issue, Microsoft argued, because Microsoft filed its lawsuit against Motorola over the terms of a licensing deal before Motorola filed its suit in Germany.
It's striking that Microsoft isn't such a big fan of patent courts -- especially efficient ones that produce their judgments rapidly -- when it is on the receiving end of patent lawsuits, rather than the one making the threats.
It's also pretty rich that Microsoft should complain about the possibility of an injunction being granted against it by another jurisdiction when that is precisely what it is trying to do by filing an action against Motorola in the International Trade Commission as well as in a US District Court. If Microsoft says German courts shouldn't get involved in its dispute with Motorola, it's equally ridiculous that an international trade body should be dragged into a domestic dispute between two US companies, as Techdirt has noted before.
Basically, Microsoft is just whining because it thinks it's going to lose in Germany, and has gone running to the US judge in an attempt to subvert that country's judicial system. It's a huge pity that he acceded to this ridiculous request: it creates a terrible precedent that's likely to lead to more such interference in the legal systems of other countries -- including foreign courts ordering companies not to obey US rulings -- and a general weakening of respect for the rule of law around the world.