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HTC to pay royalties to Microsoft after being told Android steps on its patents

[Ed. note: This story was originally posted at AndroidCentral.com]

Microsoft issued a news release late late night, announcing it signed a patent agreement with HTC over its entire line of smartphones running the Android operating system.

Specific terms of the deal, including how many patents or what they cover, were not immediately released. Microsoft's statement did say the agreement "provides broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for HTC 's mobile phones running the Android mobile 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,” Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft, said in the official statement. “We are pleased to continue our collaboration with HTC.”

The announcement comes as HTC is facing a lawsuit from Apple Inc., which alleges that HTC infringes on a number of its patents with many of its Android phones, and a few Windows Mobile devices, too. It is unknown for which patents HTC is paying royalties to Microsoft, and whether they overlap any of Apple's claims.

CNET's Ina Fried reports that the disputed patents range from the user interface to the operating system itself, and that this is the first time Microsoft has publicly said that HTC was violating patents. Microsoft for years has alleged that Linux infringes on a number of its patents and has sought licensing deals with manufacturers who use the open-source OS, which also is the framework for Android. This, however, is Microsoft's first licensing deal with the mobile OS.

Full text of Microsoft's press release after the break. 

For Release 11:30 p.m. PDT

April 27, 2010

Microsoft Announces Patent Agreement With HTC

Agreement will cover HTC’s Android phones.

REDMOND, Wash. — April 27, 2010 Microsoft Corp. and HTC Corp. have signed a patent agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for HTC’s mobile phones running the Android mobile platform. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will receive royalties from HTC.

The agreement expands HTC’s long-standing business relationship with Microsoft.

“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’s Commitment to Licensing Intellectual Property

The licensing agreement is another example of the important role intellectual property (IP) plays in ensuring a healthy and vibrant IT ecosystem. Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 600 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its IP portfolio. The program was developed to open access to Microsoft’s significant research and development investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio. More information about Microsoft’s licensing programs is available at http://www.microsoft.com/iplicensing.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

 

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Comments

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says:

I was wondering this stuff only.This seems to be Microsoft lending its arsenal of patents to help HTC and Google combat Apple..The release also notes that the

starblade876 says:

I really hope this is a little stunt to try to help them against Apple 'cause they really need to be taken down a few pegs... again.

pelona#WP says:

It's hard to know what these means since nothing as yet has been disclosed as to what technology has been licensed. Also, whatever the nature of the agreement between HTC and Microsoft, it comes after the fact, so it won't have any bearing on an ongoing legal action.

It's quite possible this is just Microsoft applying some leverage with HTC, a major supplier of phones that will compete directly with Microsoft's upcoming WP7 devices. Instead of aiding HTC, this may be a sign that HTC is getting squeezed between three major players, or two major players and a wannabe: Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

smotrs says:

What I don't understand about this whole bag of **** is why they are going after the hardware manufacturer for software related issues. Shouldn't they be going after Google instead or does Google have too much money and would tell them where to stick it?

says:

"...why they are going after the hardware manufacturer for software related issues..."

This is an interesting point, one that I have discussed in great length. It seems with Android being open source, and since Google is NOT charging a license fee for Android (while HTC is SELLING it); the party selling the goods and taking responsibility for selling the goods gets held responsible.

For example, If I make an open source software, and just post it on the internet (the source code, not the binary), and you take my software modify it and sell it, you would be responsible for any legal ramifications involved with it.

-D