Patent litigation victories are few and far between for Motorola, which has lost quite a few of them over the past few months.

But the story is a bit different today. In a rare but welcome victory, German courts ruled that Motorola did not infringe on Microsoft’s patent for technology that allows applications to run on different phones without the need for separate code. That may not seem like the type of thing a company should be able to patent, but the favorable ruling is still good news for Motorola.

“We are pleased with today’s favorable outcome for Motorola Mobility,” Motorola told VentureBeat.

The German patent battlefield hasn’t been kind to Motorola, which has lost a series decisions to Microsoft in the country. Previous cases related to software keyboards, Microsoft’s File Allocation Table (FAT), and web video encoding.

Ironically, patents were the primary reason Google bought Motorola for $12.5 billion last year. But not even Motorola’s trove of 17,000 or so patents have been able to protect it from Microsoft.

Germany has been a central battleground in the patent wars because litigation there is both cheap and quick. That’s very enticing for companies like Motorola and Microsoft, which have been locked in multiple litigations with multiple competitors at the same time.

Photo: VentureBeat/Ricardo Bilton