Monday, June 11, 2012

IBM, Activision Blizzard latest heavyweights to oppose Xbox import ban requested by Google

Interesting statements on public interest considerations keep showing up on the ITC document system. The two latest submissions were made by IBM and Activision Blizzard, both of which oppose the Xbox 360 import ban Google (Motorola) is pursuing.

IBM, which holds more U.S. patents than any other company and sold more than 2,000 of them to Google last year, explains that the Xbox gaming consoles and accessories "contain components developed by, and a limited porttion of which are manufactured by, IBM in the United States", so IBM would "suffer commercial harm" in the event of an import ban.

IBM accurately notes that "Motorola's domestic industry relating to gaming devices is based largely on licensing, and Motorola does not manufacture a product that competes with the Xbox 360". IBM does not go into detail on the fundamental question of injunctive relief over standard-essential patents (an issue on which it's closer to Cisco than to Google, though IBM's past position statements didn't rule out injunctions under all circumstances), but it recalls that "[i]n this investigation, the presiding [judge] found that Motorola's conduct with respect to its offers to license its patents to Microsoft were misleading and demonstrate 'that Motorola was not interested in good faith negotiations. . . .'" IBM says an import ban "would frustrate the public interest by allowing Motorola to benefit from its refusal to negotiate with Microsoft in good faith".

What's particularly noteworthy about IBM's intervention is that it's a strong supporter of open-source technologies such as Linux, the operating system Android is derived from. But IBM doesn't appear to believe that the end of protecting Android justifies abusive means.

Activision's submission states that the company, "one of the United States' largest video game publishers", "has expended and continues to expend significant resources to develop video games and accessories specially adapted to operate on Microsoft's Xbox gaming console". Activision's letter is relatively short (just one page) since it simply endorses the Entertainment Software Association's submission and incorporates the ESA's statements by reference.

And I'm now going to incorporate by reference my previous posts on statements on the public interest filed in the investigations of Motorola's ITC complaints against Apple and Microsoft:

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