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Phones

Microsoft tries to block US sale of Motorola phones

Microsoft is trying to prevent the sale of Motorola mobiles in America, claiming that the recently purchased phone maker infringes on its patents.

Good grief, will all you massive tech corporations just settle down for one gosh-darned minute and stop suing each other? Microsoft is the latest lawyer-happy company to fire a lawsuit into its rival's face -- it wants to prevent the sale of Motorola mobiles in the US, Bloomberg reports.

The case, which Microsoft hopes will result in an import ban on Motorola phones including the Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq XT, Devour and Backflip phones (you're not out of touch, those phones are US only), kicked off on Monday at the International Trade Commission.

Microsoft is of the view that the newly Google-owned Motorola infringes upon seven of its patents, including ways to synchronise calendars and contacts, and notify applications of changes to signal strength. The ITC has the power to prevent infringing products being imported into the US -- although Motorola is an American company its phones are still manufactured overseas. A win there would make it easier to argue the case in other markets.

Microsoft has already won a legal battle against another Android manufacturer -- it collects $5 for every Android phone that HTC sells. This case is similar to a legal smackdown Apple is administering to Samsung -- Steve Jobs and friends are trying to block the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the US. The tablet has already been banned in Europe, and subsequently unbanned.

Just over a week ago, Google announced that it was buying Motorola Mobility -- the bit of Motorola that makes phones -- for $12.5bn. Google said at the time that one of the reasons for buying Motorola was to acquire its enormous stash of patents, which hark back to the early age of mobile phones, and use those patents to defend Android.

Defend it against whom? Google previously accused companies including Microsoft and Apple of ganging up on Android, buying up patents they could use to cripple the increasingly popular operating system.

Are we moving towards an era when the most successful tech company is decided not by who makes the best kit, but who owns the most patents? Is this whole patent mess getting out of hand? Give us your intellectual property in the comments section below, or on our patented Facebook wall.