Tuesday, April 10, 2012

ITC postpones decision on Microsoft complaint against Motorola to May 18

Last month, the Commission, the six-member decision-making body at the ITC, decided to review parts of an initial determination on Microsoft's October 2010 complaint against Motorola. Yesterday, the Commission extended the target date for its final ruling for the third time in three months. The new target date is May 18, 2012.

It's impossible to read anything into this postponement with respect to the outcome. It actually comes as little surprise given that both parties raised numerous issues in their petitions for review, many of which are now being looked at in detail. In a formal sense, there are still seven patents in the investigation, the highest number I've seen at this advanced stage of an ITC investigation.

The initial determination, holding Motorola to infringe a Microsoft synchronization patent, was handed down by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on December 20, 2011. The target date for the initial determination had been postponed a couple of times. Originally, that date was November 4, 2011.

The target date for a final ITC ruling is usually four months after the initial determination. Accordingly, it was scheduled for April 20, 2012 at that time.

On January 13, 2012, the Commission approved the ALJ's decision to postpone the initial determination and, in addition, extended the target date by another two business days (to April 22, 2012). Those two business days correspond to the additional time the Commission had previously granted, at Microsoft's request, for the preparation of the parties' petitions for review.

On February 23, the Commission originally planned to give notice of a possible (and widely expected) review, but on that day it extended all deadlines in this investigation by eight days. Accordingly, the target date for the final decision was extended to May 2, 2012.

Yesterday's determination added another 16 days, extending the target date to May 18, 2012.

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