Microsoft has launched a legal effort against the U.S. Customs, claiming that its officials willfully refused to enforce a ban on Motorola Mobility’s handsets. The ban was issued by ITC back in May 2012, but it hasn’t been enforced so far. Microsoft has hinted foul-play at the part of Customs officials.
Back in 2012, ITC found that Motorola Mobility infringed Microsoft patents when synchronizing calendar events with other computers. Based on this infringement, the trade agency called for a ban on Motorola devices within U.S. Microsoft has now filed a lawsuit, citing that such a ban hasn’t been enforced so far.
Microsoft has further claimed that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection had a secret meeting with Google. While the details of this meeting are unknown, the Customs officials later decided to let Motorola devices enter the country, even when Google has refused to remove the controversial calendar functionality from them.
In a statement Microsoft’s Deputy General Counsel, David Howard, stated “Customs has a clear responsibility to carry out ITC decisions, which are reached after a full trial and rigorous legal review. Here Customs repeatedly ignored its obligation and did so based on secret discussions.”
Google spokesperson, on the other hand, has debunked Microsoft’s claims by citing that U.S. Customs has made the right decision, ‘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.’
It remains to be seen which company the court sides with once the case kick-starts. It will also be interesting to see what, if any, repercussions the U.S. Customs may have to face in wake of Microsoft’s serious allegations.
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