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Microsoft, HTC Sign Android Patent Agreement

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 27 comments

HTC has signed a deal with Microsoft that covers the use of supposed Microsoft IPs in the Android OS.

Tuesday Microsoft revealed that it signed a joint patent agreement with HTC Corp. which will provide the latter company "broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio." The deal is geared specifically towards Android-based phones provided by HTC, and neither party has released any additional details regarding the pact. However HTC will pay royalties to Microsoft for each phone shipped with the Android OS based on claims that Microsoft's patents intersect the Android platform.

"HTC and Microsoft have a long history of technical and commercial collaboration, and today’s agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercial arrangements that address intellectual property," said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft. "We are pleased to continue our collaboration with HTC."

Microsoft has indicated that the Android OS uses Microsoft's technology for the core architecture and user interface, and thus demanded the patent agreement with HTC. Apple has taken another route, dragging HTC into court and suing the mobile phone manufacturer over hardware and software patents. As the Wall Street Journal points out, both situations "bring into question how vulnerable Android's platform is to potential disputes over IPs."

The Associated Press paints a prettier picture in regards to the Microsoft-HTC deal, reporting that the Redmond-based company seems to be taking HTC's side in its legal battle with Apple. Could it be that Microsoft is offering a "financial blanket of security?" Or is Microsoft simply grabbing its take in the whole Android IP infringement controversy?

It may be the latter. There's a clear indication that both Microsoft and Apple could go after other handset manufacturers who are shipping products with the Android OS including Samsung, LG, Motorola and more.

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  • -4 Hide
    arcainumbro , April 28, 2010 5:55 PM
    In other words, this is how Microsoft can make a profit on a technology that is kicking their butts.
  • 3 Hide
    Teen Geek , April 28, 2010 6:05 PM
    arcainumbroIn other words, this is how Microsoft can make a profit on a technology that is kicking their butts.

    No, it's how MS can make a profit on THEIR technology.
  • -1 Hide
    orionantares , April 28, 2010 6:19 PM
    It's how Microsoft and HTC can offer items that can compete with Apple and force Apple to consider dropping prices to compete?
  • Display all 27 comments.
  • 7 Hide
    cscott_it , April 28, 2010 6:29 PM
    It's how Microsoft can make a penny while protecting it's partner (HTC produces both WinMo and Android phones, is slated to produce some of the first WinMo7 phones).

    It would effectually keep Apple from suing HTC. It's protecting it's assets in the "Handled Patent Cold War" so to speak.
  • 5 Hide
    megajynx , April 28, 2010 6:38 PM
    It's how Microsoft is using someone else's chicken to lay their eggs =P
  • 0 Hide
    adipose , April 28, 2010 6:43 PM
    teen geekNo, it's how MS can make a profit on THEIR technology.


    Wow, I guess you are accepting their patent claims without checking first.
  • 0 Hide
    shanky887614 , April 28, 2010 6:48 PM
    one thing i dont understand asbout patents is that if soemthing looks similar but isnt they can still sue them

    has anyone thought about patenting engines so you get royalties over every engine made? its the same thing
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 28, 2010 7:20 PM
    To shanky887614.

    Is it novel? Is it obvious? Is it useful? If the answer is yes, no, yes, then you may get a patent. To sue someone, the impugned infringing device must fall within the scope of the claims. simple.
  • 0 Hide
    egidem , April 28, 2010 7:24 PM
    "HTC and Microsoft have a long history of technical and commercial collaboration, and today’s agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercial arrangements that address intellectual property,"

    IN YOUR FACE STEVE JOBS!...Simple proof why Apple is extremely evil.
  • 6 Hide
    apmyhr , April 28, 2010 7:25 PM
    adiposeWow, I guess you are accepting their patent claims without checking first.

    If HTC is agreeing to pay royalties without being taken to court, then I would think there is some clear validity to Microsoft's patent claims.
  • 5 Hide
    dman3k , April 28, 2010 7:45 PM
    Independent sources cites like 280 patent infringement and Microsoft is only claiming 235... well, at least Microsoft is showing some modesty. Due to the complexity nature of the kernel, I wouldn't be surprised if more than 100 of those patents are completely valid. I dunno about the rest of them though.

    Where as patents like "undervolt a cpu for mobile device" is just plain shameful on the patent office.
  • 0 Hide
    figgus , April 28, 2010 8:01 PM
    apmyhrIf HTC is agreeing to pay royalties without being taken to court, then I would think there is some clear validity to Microsoft's patent claims.


    Not so fast: HTC could have licensed the tech for $1, being an important microsoft partner.

    Then, MS would have additional leverage against anyone else it decided to take to court over the "patents", making those suits far more likely to succeed and thus squashing any real competition long-term from android. Remember what SCO did to Linux a few years back? Same tactics! Hit the small fish with small payout lawsuits, then when they capitulate use that track record to strike at the bigger fish.

    There is also a good chance that MS strongarmed HTC into taking such a deal for exactly that purpose. After all, these lawsuits aren't about money: they are about control of the market, a far more important asset.
  • 0 Hide
    coldmast , April 28, 2010 8:43 PM
    Of course we wont actually tell you which patents are being violated so you can what 'we' consider violations of our intellectual property.
  • 2 Hide
    otacon72 , April 28, 2010 9:26 PM
    coldmastOf course we wont actually tell you which patents are being violated so you can what 'we' consider violations of our intellectual property.


    Of course Microsoft told HTC... good lord. Doesn't mean they have to tell the whole world.
  • 0 Hide
    jhansonxi , April 28, 2010 9:32 PM
    It's patent trolling stunts like this that make it hard to sympathize with M$ when they whine about being sued over software patents (like with Eolas patent #5,838,906).
  • 2 Hide
    zybch , April 28, 2010 9:53 PM
    Take that apple. With MS now in bed with HTC your stupid little lawsuit about obvious patents you pretend to own is going to go nowhere.
  • -2 Hide
    sublifer , April 28, 2010 9:58 PM
    huh wtf?!?!?
    1- android is google's (perhaps this is a precursor for MS going after Google and oem's using android for some IP...?
    2- I thought android was based on linux (which is open-source) not that closed source code couldn't have also been used...
  • 0 Hide
    Tindytim , April 29, 2010 12:08 AM
    Microsoft generally claims Linux infringes on ~600 of their patented technologies. Since Android is based on Linux, I'm not surprised.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 29, 2010 1:53 AM
    Cats: All your patents are belong to us!!
  • 0 Hide
    longshotthe1st , April 29, 2010 4:18 AM
    Either way you look at it, it's bad news for Apple. =)
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