Microsoft inks patent deal with LG over Android devices
Microsoft says it has signed a patent agreement allowing electronics manufacturer LG to build Android devices without risking legal action over Microsoft’s intellectual property within the OS.
According to the software giant, the deal provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for LG’s tablets, mobile phones and other consumer devices running the Android or Chrome OS platforms.
Microsoft has been seeking royalty payments from handset manufacturers for its patents used in the Google operating system. LG is the 11th Android phone manufacturer to do such a deal.
“Together with our 10 previous agreements with Android and Chrome OS device manufacturers, including HTC, Samsung and Acer, this agreement with LG means that more than 70% of all Android smartphones sold in the US are now receiving coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel.
How should the smartphone industry resolve IP disputes in the software stack? Let’s try licensing
“We are proud of the continued success of our program in resolving the IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome OS.”
According to Microsoft, the agreement extends a pre-existing deal and should be seen as ”another example of the important role IP plays in ensuring a healthy and vibrant IT ecosystem”.
The company has been quick to trumpet the benefits of licensing software rather than seeking redress through the courts, which are overworked with patent wars between rival handset and OS developers.
Although the content of the deal was not disclosed, Microsoft executives took to Twitter to launch jibes at Android owner Google, the latest in a long-running war of words between the tech giants.
“Can we just agree to drop the patents-as-weapons meme?” posted company communications boss Frank Shaw. “When effective licensing enables companies to share IP, the metaphor falls apart.”