Microsoft signs Android patent deal with Foxconn

Foxconn deal protects Android device makers from Microsoft patent infringement

Reuters Stewart Mitchell
17 Apr 2013

Microsoft and Hon Hai have signed a global patent licensing agreement, designed to protect the Chinese manufacturer's clients from patent claims arising from their use of Android and Chrome OS.

Hon Hai owns Foxconn, which manufactures PCs, handsets and other technology for multiple hardware companies, including Acer, Apple, HP and Microsoft.

Google and Microsoft have been locked in patent battles, with Microsoft contending that the Google systems infringe its software patents, but the Windows giant has chosen to pursue hardware makers rather than Google itself for royalties.

"Foxconn's clients don't need to worry about infringing Microsoft's patents any more, because Foxconn has signed the agreement for them," said Vincent Shih, chief legal officer of Microsoft Taiwan.

According to Shih, more than 50% of the global contract makers that manufacture Android devices have signed similar agreements with Microsoft.

Technology companies are increasingly defending their turf in the courts, seeking penalties for alleged patent and trademark infringements and injunctions to stop product sales.

Brand name companies such as Samsung, LG, HTC and Acer have also settled with Microsoft over their use of Android, but Motorola Mobility, which Google bought last year, is fighting a range of patent issues with Microsoft in courts in the US and Germany.

Hon Hai spokeswoman Laura Liu said the company was also in talks with other software companies on different patent agreements.

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