Outcome of Motorola's copyright case against Hytera

Wednesday, 25 January, 2023

The Federal Court of Australia last month ruled in favour of Motorola Solutions in its copyright and patent infringement claims against Hytera Communications Corporation Limited and Hytera Communications (Australia) Pty Limited of Australia (collectively ‘Hytera’). The Court found that Hytera infringed Motorola Solutions’ copyright and patent rights, and determined that Motorola Solutions is entitled to an order permanently restraining Hytera from continued infringement, as well as pecuniary relief including additional damages for copyright infringement (yet to be determined).

The legal proceedings related to certain Hytera legacy digital mobile radio (DMR) radios and software formerly used in selected models of Hytera DMR radios. In the proceedings, Motorola made allegations of both patent infringement and copyright infringement. The Court determined that certain Hytera digital mobile radio (DMR) products infringe Motorola Solutions’ Australian patent, while dismissing Motorola’s allegations of patent infringement in respect of two of the three patents relied on by Motorola; one of these patents was also found to be invalid.

Hytera’s infringing DMR products include a number of its portables (22 models), mobiles (two models) and repeaters (four models). In addition, the Court found that Hytera unlawfully copied Motorola Solutions’ source code into Hytera’s DMR equipment, thereby infringing and continuing to infringe Motorola Solutions’ copyright. The Court upheld Motorola’s allegation of copyright infringement in relation to six of 11 computer programs.

An injunctive relief will restrain Hytera from making, importing, offering to sell, selling or otherwise distributing in Australia DMR products that are capable of performing Motorola Solutions’ patented methods or reproduce Motorola Solutions’ copyrighted source code. The judge did however acknowledge that the infringing conduct regarding the single patent ceased in November 2019, by which time Hytera had upgraded its legacy devices to remove the infringing feature. The Court also held that Motorola was not entitled to additional damages in respect of patent infringement.

Hytera is currently reviewing the judgement and considering available options, including possible grounds for appeal in respect of the copyright infringement findings. In the meantime, in light of certain matters raised in the legal proceedings, Hytera has enhanced its corporate governance and added new policies and procedures related to intellectual property and the onboarding of new employees. The company has also rolled out updated software and firmware to the marketplace, including for legacy devices that were at issue in this proceeding.

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