Microsoft files lawsuit against U.S. Customs, claims it neglected to enforce ban on Motorola phones

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: July 12, 2013

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Typically when we see lawsuits in the mobile world, the battles involved one manufacturer that feels that another device maker has infringed upon one or more patents with a hardware or software feature. That's not the case today, though, as Microsoft has decided to file suit against U.S. Customs and Border Protection as well as CBP Deputy Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski, the Department of Homeland Security, and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Microsoft today filed a complaint against U.S. Customs, alleging that officials of neglecting to enforce an import ban that the U.S. International Trade Commission hit Motorola with last year. Microsoft won the ban after the ITC found that some of Motorola's Android-based products had infringed upon a Microsoft patent related to calendar synchronization. However, Microsoft claims that U.S. Customs and Border Protections held secret meetings with Google in April and continued to allow Motorola's products into the country, even though nothing had been done to alter or remove the infringing feature.

In a statement given to Bloomberg, Microsoft Deputy General Counsel David Howard said that U.S. Customs has a duty to carry out the rulings that are handed down by the ITC. "Here Customs repeatedly ignored its obligation and did so based on secret discussions," Howard explained.

According to the official court documents, Microsoft is asking that all infringing Motorola products be blocked from entry into the U.S. and that any infringing devices that are already in the country be recalled. Whether or not the Redmond firm gets what it wants remains to be seen, but it'll be interesting to see how the government responds to Microsoft's complaint. Stay tuned and I'll update you with any additional statements that may come out.

Via Bloomberg, FOSS Patents