Following a recent decision to ban some of HTC's smartphones in the US, the International Trade Commission has now made a preliminary ruling in another Android related dispute. This time the belligerents are Microsoft and Motorola, but once again the department has ruled against the Android manufacturer in the case.
The commission's preliminary decision says that Motorola did in fact infringe on one of the six patents that Microsoft accused it of violating. The patent, which covers "a mobile device which provides the user with the ability to schedule a meeting request from the mobile device itself," is again a problem with Android and not Motorola specifically, but most other manufacturers like HTC and Samsung have already licensed this patent from Microsoft.
As a preliminary decision, this won't mean much until the entire panel reviews the decision and makes a final ruling. Also, if Microsoft wins the case they will probably simply license the patent to Motorola instead of trying to get their sales blocked or something more sinister.
Still, it is a little concerning that all kinds of basic functions for mobile devices have been patented. I have a hard time believing that Microsoft was the first to allow users to schedule a meeting from their mobile device (here's looking at you, Palm), and even if they were it shouldn't be a big enough "innovation" to warrant a patent.[DailyTech]