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Motorola Mobility to pay $14.5m in damages to Microsoft

The technology giant wins second patent trial.

A federal jury in Seattle has ordered Google’s Motorola Mobility to pay $14.5m in damages to Microsoft Corporation for demanding royalties over and above reasonable terms for standard essential patents.

Microsoft claimed $29m in damages from Motorola Mobility for demanding royalties of up to $4bn a year for patented technology used in the Xbox consoles and Windows. It contended that a royalty of 2.25 per cent of the price of the products was much higher than standard licenses.

This is the second suit that Microsoft has won against Motorola. Earlier in April, a federal judge in Seattle passed the ruling that Microsoft is liable to pay only $1.8m a year as against a few billions demanded by Motorola.

David Howard, deputy general counsel of Microsoft, said: “This is a landmark win for all who want products that are affordable and work well together. The jury’s verdict is the latest in a growing list of decisions by regulators and courts telling Google to stop abusing patents.”

Motorola Mobility, however, said it will appeal the decision in higher court.

William Moss, a spokesman of Motorola Mobility, said: “We’re disappointed in this outcome, but look forward to an appeal of the new legal issues raised in this case.”

The jury’s latest decision is expected to have broad implications on patent law. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is scheduled to hear arguments on 11 September 2013 on whether there should be different rules for standard essential patents, reported Bloomberg.

Microsoft first filed a lawsuit against Motorola Mobility in 2010 with the US International Trade Commission.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.