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ITC delays ruling on U.S. ban of Xbox

The U.S. International Trade Commission has sent the case -- related to Motorola patents -- back to the ITC judge who recommended the ban, Reuters reports. His reconsideration of the case will probably take months.

It looks like the Xbox won't be banned from the U.S. just yet.

The U.S. International Trade Commission is putting off a ruling on whether sales of the gaming console should be prohibited in the states owing to infringement of patents held by Google and its Motorola Mobility unit, Reuters reports.

In late May, an ITC judge recommended the ban, based on his ruling that the Xbox infringes patents regarding wireless Net connectivity, video compression, and other technologies. The ITC had been expected to release a decision on the proposed ban in August but has instead sent the case back to the judge for reconsideration.

Microsoft has argued that the patents in question are standard-essential -- or so called frand -- patents and that the company therefore has a right to the technology they cover as long as it pays licensing fees. Frand patents cover technologies an industry has agreed to accept as standards, provided the patent holders in turn agree to license them at reasonable rates.

Following the recommendation of the Xbox ban, the Federal Trade Commission wrote a letter to the ITC saying such a ban could cause "substantial harm" to consumers, competition, and innovation, and that companies should be limited in their ability to block competitors' imports based on frand patents.

Yesterday, news emerged that the FTC had launched an investigation into whether Google and its Motorola Mobility unit have been playing by the frand rules. And in April, the European Commission opened a similar investigation of Motorola.

Reuters reports that the ITC judge's reconsideration of the Xbox case will probably take months.

Related lawsuits against Microsoft by Motorola in federal courts in Wisconsin and Florida are stayed pending an ITC decision, Reuters noted.