Microsoft vs. Google trial over patents finishes up

SEATTLE Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:54am IST

An attendant checks a computer during the launch of Microsoft Windows 8 operating system in Hong Kong October 26, 2012. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

An attendant checks a computer during the launch of Microsoft Windows 8 operating system in Hong Kong October 26, 2012.

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SEATTLE (Reuters) - A Google expert witness testified on Tuesday that Microsoft will make roughly $94 billion in revenue through 2017 from its Xbox game console and Surface tablet that use Google's patented wireless technology.

Michael Dansky, an expert for Google's Motorola Mobility unit, testified on the last day of a high stakes trial over patents between Microsoft and Google in Seattle. The $94 billion figure he cited also includes a wireless adapter that Microsoft no longer sells. It was not clear how far back he was counting past revenues.

Microsoft declined comment on the figure.

The week-long trial in a Seattle federal court examined how much of a royalty Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) should pay Google Inc (GOOG.O) for a license to some of Motorola's patents. Google bought Motorola earlier this year for $12.5 billion, partly for its library of communications patents.

Motorola had sought up to $4 billion a year for its wireless and video patents, while Microsoft argues its rival deserves just over $1 million a year.

If U.S. District Judge James Robart decides Google deserves only a small royalty, then its Motorola patents would be a weaker bargaining chip for Google to negotiate licensing deals with rivals.

The rapid rise of smartphones has sparked an explosion of litigation between major players disputing ownership of the underlying technology and the design of handsets.

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Microsoft have been litigating in courts around the world against Google and partners like Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS), which use the Android operating system on their mobile devices.

Apple contends that Android is basically a copy of its iOS smartphone software, and Microsoft holds patents that it contends cover a number of Android features.

In return, Motorola and some other Android hardware makers launched countering legal action.

Before trial, Robart said testimony about patent license agreements between Microsoft, Motorola and other tech companies could be disclosed to the public, along with other sensitive financial information.

However, the judge reversed himself this week and said he was bound by appellate precedent to keep that information secret. On Tuesday he cleared the courtroom and heard two hours of testimony in secret.

During the open session, Dansky said Motorola's video patents are crucial to Microsoft and other tech companies, and deserve a high royalty.

"You will have a difficult time selling smart phones or tablets," Dansky said, without Motorola's technology.

Robart is not expected to release a ruling for several weeks as both companies must file further legal briefs.

The case in U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington is Microsoft Corp. vs. Motorola Inc., 10-cv-1823. (Reporting By Lisa Dembiczak; Writing by Dan Levine; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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