Yesterday marked the start of the long-awaited Microsoft-Motorola RAND breach of contract jury trial, taking place before Judge James L. Robart in the Western District of Washington.  Over the next week or so, the jury will hear testimony on whether Motorola breached its IEEE- and ITU-related RAND obligations through its licensing negotiations and course of dealing with Microsoft, as well as whether Motorola owes damages to Microsoft (Microsoft is apparently seeking $23M stemming from a move of its European distribution center to avoid a German patent injunction, plus $6M in attorneys’ fees incurred in defending injunction claims).  We’ll try to keep you apprised of any interesting rulings or nuggets that come to light during the trial.  In the meantime…

  • Even on the first day, there were already some reporters tweeting live updates from the courtroom, including Janet Tu of The Seattle Times (Twitter feed @janettu) and Todd Bishop of Geekwire (Twitter feed @toddbishop).  You can read Janet’s recap of the first day here, and check out Todd’s recap here.  For those of you who are interested in following live updates on Twitter, check out the hashtag #motosoft.
  • Last week we dove a little bit into the issues raised by Motorola’s dealings with Marvell — Microsoft’s 802.11 chip supplier — and the parties’ arguments regarding whether the jury should be allowed to consider Motorola’s conduct toward Marvell as part of its breach of contract analysis, and also whether a hypothetical license between Motorola and Marvell would have exhausted Motorola’s patent rights with respect to Microsoft.  Yesterday, Judge Robart issued an order excluding Microsoft’s efforts to argue that patent exhaustion would apply.  However, Judge Robart will allow Microsoft to introduce evidence relating to Motorola’s conduct with Marvell, finding that such evidence could be relevant to Microsoft’s claim that Motorola violated its RAND-based duty of good faith and fair dealing.
  • Tim Worstall of Forbes also brings us a preview of the trial.
  • Over at AllThingsD, John Paczkowski wonders what if any effect the outcome of this trial could have on BlackBerry, speculating that a jury verdict of breach might lead BlackBerry to file a similar RAND breach of contract suit against Motorola (the parties were previously involved in a wide-ranging patent dispute from 2008-2010).
  • Lastly, FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller argues that this jury trial wouldn’t be taking place if not for what he calls [Motorola parent company] Google’s “patent schizophrenia.”