Duty of good faith and fair dealing

Later this summer, the second phase of the Microsoft v. Motorola RAND breach of contract trial will take place in Judge James L. Robart’s courtroom in Seattle, WA.  A jury will decide whether Motorola breached its SSO-related RAND licensing obligations by offering what Microsoft deems “blatantly unreasonable” licensing terms for its 802.11- and H.264-essential patents, and then following up with patent infringement suits.

In a prior summary judgment order, Judge Robart already concluded that in order to be permissible under its RAND obligations, Motorola’s license offers “must comport with the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing inherent in every contract.”  He noted that this inquiry is heavily fact-intensive, and best left to the jury to decide.  To this end, Judge Robart recently requested that both Microsoft and Motorola present background briefing on the parameters of what is required by the duty of good faith and fair dealing in contractual disputes.  This week, the parties complied with this request:

Both parties acknowledge that the issue of good faith and fair dealing is complicated — but understandably, the parties also differ quite a bit in their views on what should be considered.  After the jump, we’ll take a brief look at the filings.

Continue Reading In Microsoft-Motorola RAND dispute, “good faith and fair dealing” is in the eye of the beholder