Congress Speaks Out ITC’s Potential Xbox 360 Ban

Posted by at 1:29 pm on June 14, 2012

Members of Congress have written to the International Trade Commission (ITC) to publicly rebuke a potential ITC-enforced Xbox 360 ban. Microsoft faces an import ban on its gaming console over Motorola’s standards-essential H.264 playback patent, which Microsoft has been accused of violating. Motorola, in turn, has been accused of not negotiating for a license on the patent in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) basis. Motorola’s sole support for the ban from both industry and governmental channels lies in the single letter from representatives from the state of Illinois, the home of the United States branch of Motorola.

Representatives from both sides of the aisle, a large number of them from Microsoft’s home state of Washington, have spoken out against the potential injunction. Against the ban are Lamar Smith (R-TX), Darrell Issa (R-CA), John Conyers (D-MI), Mel Watt (D-NC), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Norm Dicks (D-WA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Doc Hastings (R-WA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), and Sue Myrick (R-NC). Smith, Watt, and Conyers’ letter was penned on the stationery of the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee.

Representatives obliquely supporting the bill all hailing from Illinois are Peter Roskam (R-IL), Danny Davis (D-IL), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Donald Manzullo (R-IL), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Joe Walsh (R-IL), Bob Dold (R-IL), and John Shimkus (R-IL). The letter twice referred to “reasonable” compensation of rights holders, possibly a reference to ITC Judge David Shaw’s statement that Motorola’s licensing demands were anything but reasonable.

Microsoft and Apple are benefitting from wide industry support in letters to the ITC encouraging no sales embargo on the products that infringe on Motorola’s wireless connectivity and H.264 patents. The ITC has solicited position letters from the general populace in regards to a proposed injunction against both Apple’s iPhone, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

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