Big news today in the Microsoft-Motorola RAND breach of contract dispute taking place before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. After the November 2012 bench trial and significant post-trial briefing between the parties on a variety of issues, we finally have an order from the court. However, we will need to wait another week or so to actually see what’s in the order.
Today, presiding Judge James L. Robart issued the order that many who follow SEP issues have long been waiting for — an order that sets forth his view of what constitutes “reasonable and non-discriminatory” licensing terms for a Microsoft license to Motorola’s 802.11- and H.264-essential patent portfolios, as well as the appropriate methodology for calculating these RAND terms. (Recall that Judge Robart previously stated that after the bench trial, he would determine a RAND royalty rate and/or range for Motorola’s patents). Unfortunately, as you can see from the docket sheet screen shot below, the entirety of Judge Robart’s Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (Dkt. No. 673) is currently sealed, as it contains confidential information.
According to a separate order also issued today, the parties have until 12:00pm (Pacific time) on Thursday, April 25 to file a proposed joint redacted version of the court’s finding of fact and conclusions of law. Judge Robart clearly values the public’s right to information disclosed in court proceedings — in this order, he makes it clear to the parties that they should not over-redact, stating that only the portions necessary to protect confidential or proprietary information should be redacted. He notes that under Ninth Circuit precedent, parties must have a “compelling reason” to prevent the public from accessing information disclosed in the court’s files.
Finally, Judge Robart scheduled a telephone conference for next Friday, April 26, at 9:00am Pacific time, during which the parties will present argument on any redactions over which there is disagreement. At this time, the court will also rule on the propriety of the parties’ redactions. So come next Friday afternoon, we will likely have access to the first district court precedent on how to determine RAND terms for a portfolio of standard-essential patents. Check back here for an update.