Microsoft, Motorola finish arguments in patent trial

The two tech titans argued over how much the software giant should pay the wireless technology company to use its patents in both Windows and the Xbox console.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Oral arguments in the patent trial between Microsoft and Motorola Mobility wrapped up today, with perhaps billions of dollars in patent royalties at stake.

The case, which centers how much the software giant should pay the wireless technology company to use its patents, concluded after six days of testimony. U.S. District Judge James Robart has set a deadline of December 14 for both sides to deliver their closing arguments in the form of post-trial briefs. Robart is expected to render his decision in the spring of 2013.

Motorola holds patents that are part of the H.264 video and 802.11 wireless standards and is demanding Microsoft pay royalties that could reach $4 billion for its use of the technology, which is baked into Windows and the Xbox video game console. Microsoft is willing to pay a royalty, but not at the 2.25 percent of the product price that Motorola has sought.

In a case that could have broad ramifications for patent law, the two companies argued over what constitutes fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory terms -- known to patent lawyers as FRAND -- that patent holders can charge for standard essential patents. This case could help establish a framework for what patent holders can reasonably charge for use of their essential technology.

Robart tried to get both the sides their settle earlier this year. Instead, both companies tried to dismiss the claims of the other to no avail, leading him to schedule the trial.