Microsoft And Samsung Cross License Patents In Smartphone War

By Joseph Mandour on September 30, 2011

microsoft-200x132 Orange County – Microsoft has entered into an agreement to share several of its patents with South Korean based electronics company, Samsung, in an attempt to compete in the competitive smartphone war. Currently, the largest players in the smartphone market are Apple, makers of the iPhone and iPad, and Google,producers of the Android Operating System.

Microsoft, however, is attempting to increase its share in the smartphone market. Microsoft produces a smartphone operating system called Windows Phone and will launch Windows Phone 7 in the near future. The agreement with Samsung involves patent sharing as well as collaboration in developing and marketing the Windows Phone software. The cross-licensing agreement will also allow Microsoft to receive royalties for smartphones and tablets manufactured by Samsung that run the Android operating system.

The licensing agreement is also advantageous for Samsung as the electronics manufacturer is now able to utilize a variety of Microsoft patents in itsproduction of smartphones and tablets. Without the licensing agreement, Samsung would have to develop its own technology or obtain a patent license from another party. As the owner of the patents, Microsoft has the exclusive right to restrict the making, selling, and using of a patent by others.

Patent licensing,on the other hand, allows parties other than the patent holder to make, use, or sell the patented material without infringing the patent. In this case, Microsoft’s patent license will allow Samsung to utilize Microsoft patents in developing their smartphone and tablet technology.

The cross-licensing agreement has been described as “the world’s biggest patent deal.” As a result of the deal with Samsung, Microsoft will now receive royalties from the two largest manufacturers of Android devices, Samsung and HTC, with whom Microsoft already shares patents. Together, Samsung and HTC have manufactured more than half of the smartphones in the United States currently running the Android Operating System.

Google reacted to the deal unfavorably by accusing Microsoft of attempting to “extort profits” from competitors because of their inability to compete in the smartphone market.

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Posted in: Patent Infringement