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Gaming

Decision on US Xbox 360 ban to take 'months'

The decision on whether the Xbox should be banned was expected next month, but has been significantly delayed.

Google's been trying to ban the Xbox 360 in the US for some time now, but we'll have to wait a little while longer to find out whether it's successful. It's accused Microsoft of infringing key patents with its console. Well now the International Trade Commission -- which rules over such matters -- is putting off making the decision on whether to ban it.

The patents in question relate to wireless net connectivity, video compression and various other technologies, the patents for which are owned by Motorola, and hence Google, Reuters reports. A decision was expected from the ITC in August, but now it's sent the case back to the judge to let them decide. And risk the ire of gamers all over America.

It's primarily a question of European FRAND rules surround patent usage -- those that are fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory. They exist to ensure the industry chugs along as best it can, making sure devices are compatible with each other and consumers get a fair deal. Companies owning such patents accepted as industry standard have to licence them on reasonable terms. Microsoft has claimed the technologies used in the Xbox are standard essential.

The Federal Trade Commission has written to the ITC saying banning the Xbox would cause "substantial harm" to consumers, competition, and innovation. It recommended a clampdown on companies being able to block competitor products. And I have to say I agree with it.

Late on Friday, Apple succeeded in having the Samsung Galaxy Nexus banned from sale in the US. The FTC is also launching an investigation into whether Google and Motorola have been complying with FRAND rules.

These patent infringement cases are getting seriously out of hand. Something needs to be done to make sure these companies stop their squabbling and get on with making decent devices.

What do you think? What would an Xbox ban mean for us fans of gaming and gadgets? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.