Microsoft in deal with HTC
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.
Have Microsoft come in as a “white knight” to take down Apple’s patent infringement claims against HTC?
If so Microsoft must have known they had HTC over a barrel. I could see MS dealing IP for a WM7 commitment from HTC.
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1. Microsoft saves Android? Boggle.
2. Did Apple agree not to contest Microsoft’s patents in the five-year deal? Would that apply to HTC’s use of MS patents?
3. For this to help HTC’s case, HTC would have to show that Apple’s patents were invalidated by earlier patents of Microsoft’s.
4. It’s possible that HTC can now sidestep some of Apple’s claims by re-implementing handset features under Microsoft’s patents.
The way I saw this was that Microsoft probably doesn’t have patents that Apple are infringing or they would have said something earlier but on the hardware side Microsoft may have patents which may allow HTC to rejig their hardware so they don’t (potentially, case hasn’t been proved yet) infringe apple patents. Fair enough.
It’s not clear to me how the software patents play out. I’m assuming that the software patents Apple claims were infringements were really Android violations which HTC was using. If so, I don’t see how Microsoft patents can help in this regard. How I wish for simpler times.
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I notice that MS and Apple don’t sue each other a whole lot these past few years. There’s probably some quiet cross-licensing. “You let us use ( ) on from the iPhone and you can get this on Exchange ( ).”