Microsoft insists on phone import ban

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Microsoft insists on phone import ban

Microsoft accused U.S. Customs officials of refusing to follow a trade agency’s order to block imports of phones made by Google’s Motorola Mobility unit in a lawsuit that seeks to alter how such cases are handled.

The U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington issued the import ban in May 2012 after deciding that Motorola Mobility devices infringed a Microsoft patent for a way mobile phones synchronize calendar events with other computers. Microsoft’s lawsuit, filed Friday in Washington, says that order isn’t being enforced.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, after having secret meetings with Google, continued to let the Motorola Mobility mobile phones enter the country even though Google has done nothing to remove the feature at the heart of the ITC case, Microsoft said in the complaint.

“Customs has a clear responsibility to carry out ITC decisions, which are reached after a full trial and rigorous legal review,” Microsoft Deputy General Counsel David Howard said in a statement. “Here Customs repeatedly ignored its obligation and did so based on secret discussions.”

Motorola Mobility convinced the agency that the order didn’t apply to syncing through Google rather than Microsoft servers, and to give it a grace period to allow changes to take effect. Both of those requests had previously been rejected by the ITC, according to Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft.

A ban on some older models of Apple’s iPhone is scheduled to take effect Aug. 5 unless it’s overturned by President Barack Obama or put on hold pending appeal. The models were found to infringe a Samsung Electronics patent for a way data are transmitted. On Aug. 1, the agency is scheduled to announce whether it will order an import ban on some models of Samsung’s phones based on patent allegations filed by Apple.

Bloomberg

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