Did Microsoft or Motorola Win This Patent Lawsuit?

These patent lawsuit rulings nowadays keep getting grayer and grayer.

Apple (NAS: AAPL) and HTC just recently exited the courtroom, with both claiming victory. The latest dueling duo to emerge is Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) and Motorola Mobility (NYS: MMI) , with each also boasting triumph.

Since the patent suits typically involve handfuls of patents, when the International Trade Commission makes a ruling, it's been splitting the difference and finding infringement on some but not all of the allegations. That's what led to HTC's confident feeling even as the ITC sided with Apple on some patents, since it would remove the infringing functions, and it's also why Motorola is pleased even though the ITC has said it infringes on some of Mr. Softy's intellectual property.

In this case, the ITC found Motorola guilty of infringing on a Microsoft patent covering scheduling events and syncing calendars. Microsoft took the chance to coax the soon-to-be Google (NAS: GOOG) subsidiary into inking a licensing deal over Android, following in the footsteps of its brethren, saying, "As Samsung, HTC, Acer, and other companies have recognized, respecting others' intellectual property through licensing is the right path forward."

There's no word on whether Motorola will be signing a deal with Microsoft and joining fellow Android vendors. Motorola General Counsel Scott Offer told AllThingsD: "We view it as a huge win for us. They had, originally, nine patents in their first case. They are down to one patent, effectively." He also said the company is still reviewing its options. It has some time to mull it over, since there's another hearing before any potential injunction is imposed on the gadget purveyor.

In the meantime, Microsoft continues to hound Barnes & Noble (NYS: BKS) over its Android gadgets, while the bookseller has been looking for as much help as it can get. Since Motorola mostly came out ahead in this ruling, it might even give other Android defendants something to fight back with. This patent war is far from over; it's just getting started.

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At the time this article was published Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft and creating bull call spread positions in Apple and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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