Another Android and Chrome OS device developer pays Microsoft patent royalties

Another Android and Chrome OS device developer pays Microsoft patent royalties

Summary: With a newly minted agreement with Compal Electronics, Microsoft officials say that they now have more than half of the worldwide ODMs for Android and Chrome OS devices now paying them patent royalties.

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Original design manufacturer (ODM) Compal Electronics has licensed publicly undisclosed Microsoft patents and is paying Microsoft undisclosed royalties to cover phones, tablets and e-readers it makes that run Android and the Chrome OS.

Microsoft and Compal announced they had signed a patent agreement on October 23.

Microsoft officials said that with the addition of Compal to its patent-protection roster, Microsoft now has "more than half of the world's ODM industry for Android and Chrome devices ... now under license to Microsoft's patent portfolio." (Other ODMs who are paying Microsoft for Android and Chrome patent protection include Wistron and Quanta Computer. Quanta is the ODM for the Amazon Kindle Fire and RIM's PlayBook.)

"We are proud of the continued success of our licensing program in resolving IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome,” said Horacio Gutierrez, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property at Microsoft, according to a statement in Microsoft's latest press release.

Microsoft has not publicly disclosed which of its patents that it contends are infringed by Android and Chrome. Barnes & Noble officials said earlier this year, Microsoft officials require OEMs and ODMs to sign non-disclosure statements before sharing with them the details about their alleged infringements. (Barnes & Noble and Motorola Mobility are still engaged in legal battles with Microsoft over Microsoft's claims that their Android-based devices infringe Microsoft patents.)

Speaking of Motorola Mobility, the International Trade Commission -- which is investigating patent-infringement complaints by Microsoft and Apple against Motorola Mobility -- has extended the target completion date for those decisions by six weeks due to case backlog, according to Florian Mueller of the FOSS Patents blog. (Mueller repeats in his post his disclosure that he is doing a Microsoft-commissioned study on the worldwide use of FRAND-pledged patents, for what it's worth.) The initial decision on the Microsoft-Motorola case is now slated for December 16, 2011, with the final decision target date now April 16, 2012.

Update: Mueller also has been tracking the patents over which Microsoft and Motorola are fighting. He notes that these 21 patents are likely among those that Microsoft asserts against Android.

Topics: Microsoft, Android, Google, Mobility, Operating Systems, Security, Software Development

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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48 comments
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  • Sick and tired

    Can we please stop these pointless patent lawsuits?
    Michael Alan Goff
    • Do you prescribe a free for all?

      @Michael Alan Goff

      Where there is no respect for IP? Just copy whatever books your want without permission of the copyright holder? Download any movie or song for free? Copy others designs and architectures without impunity?
      Bruizer
      • RE: Another Android and Chrome OS device developer pays Microsoft patent royalties

        Not every idea deserves a patent.

        I am simply stating that if the time has come when nobody can make anything without violating some patent, as it seems it has, then maybe something is wrong with the system overall.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • But most multi-billion dollar ventures...

        @Michael Alan Goff

        Encompass many methods. We are not talking about a garage shop operations here. Google has 10,000's of thousands of patents (once the MMI deal goes through). MS has 10,000's of thousands of patents. Many (most?) are junk. A few are novel. Most have several thousands invested in development. A few may have many 10's of millions. A couple may have a few 100's of millions.

        If you have a couple of companies actually spending tons of effort (money, people and resources) in trying to come up with new methods of interaction and a dozen companies simply copying the effort, you will soon have no company willing to put forth the effort for innovation.

        The penalty is the copiers will not have the opportunity for growth as they are legally shut out of markets or have to pay for use of methods they did not originate.
        Bruizer
      • RE: Another Android and Chrome OS device developer pays Microsoft patent royalties

        @Bruizer

        But we don't know if the ones that Microsoft is suing for are junk or not.

        Do you?
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Another Android and Chrome OS device developer pays Microsoft patent royalties

        @Michael Alan Goff
        >>But we don't know if the ones that Microsoft is suing for are junk or not.

        >>Do you?

        I don't need to know because I am neither part of Microsoft nor the ODM of Android and Chrome OS. I am also not part of USPTO or legal system, so why should I? And now here is direct question, why do you need to know about it? Are you planning to make your own devices using Android or Chrome OS?
        Ram U
      • RE: Another Android and Chrome OS device developer pays Microsoft patent royalties

        You aren't in the least bit curious about it?
        Michael Alan Goff
      • You obviously don't know.....

        @Bruizer

        What the difference is between patents and copyrights. This has NOTHING to do with copyrights, but the patenting of things that are obvious, have prior art, or mathematically based (which includes most software).

        These developers are paying blackmail to Microsoft simply because it is cheaper than fighting. That is why Microsoft has picked on only those who can not afford to fight back. When Microsoft runs into the big boys, such as IBM, then they will find out how many of those claimed patents are real.
        linux for me
      • Michael: has MS sued anyone over these?

        "But we don't know if the ones that Microsoft is suing for are junk or not."

        I wasn't aware that any of these had actually resulted in a lawsuit yet. I would think that as soon as a lawsuit is filed, all the patents in question would be made public. It is the only reason we know about which patents Apple has sued over because those disagreements have actually gone to a lawsuit. Until MS decides to go to trial, there is no obligation to tell the public anything about these patents. Apple doesn't. Intel doesn't. Why should MS?
        toddybottom
      • There have been no lawsuits

        because it has been settled out of court. Also, Apple is quite open about which patents it has and which patents it thinks that people are infringing on. The entire time it was threatening Samsung with a lawsuit, we knew why.

        Do not think otherwise.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Another Android and Chrome OS device developer pays Microsoft patent royalties

        @Bruizer You are making a false connection between your points and Microsoft's litigation threats. Screw them.
        JustCallMeBC
      • RE: Another Android and Chrome OS device developer pays Microsoft patent royalties

        [i]You aren't in the least bit curious about it?[/i]

        That's because Rama.NET is a proprietary tool that accepts all things in question from his masters in Redmond.

        You are not allowed to question his masters. That is a sin. Only unquestioning sheep are tolerated. Time to get with their program and follow their leader.
        ScorpioBlue
    • RE: Another Android and Chrome OS device developer pays Microsoft patent royalties

      @Michael Alan Goff

      If you wish to abandon the idea of patents, trust me, Microsoft along with Google would be glad. Forget the patents what Microsoft has, if the patent world just opened up, to a point where any idea can be picked up, with the size & scale of MS & Google, have let me assure you all start ups are dead. Also, if MS is just about able to recoup all the money they have given to companies like Lodsys, Eolas, i4i, et al, for their patents from Microsoft's IP licensing program, they should be glad. MS has paid far more than it can hope to recoup from all these OEMs.
      mm71
      • RE: Another Android and Chrome OS device developer pays Microsoft patent royalties

        @mm71
        +1. Well said.
        Ram U
      • RE: Another Android and Chrome OS device developer pays Microsoft patent royalties

        Yeah, I know what you mean.

        Without such great patents as the vague ones that Lodsys has, the ones that Apple is using to bar competition, and so forth, there wouldn't be as much competition.

        I'm not anti-patents. I'm simply against using patents as a tool to stop any sort of competition, which is what they are used for at this point. A company will patent something extremely vague, and then interpret it so that nothing can be made.

        How is this good for competition?
        Michael Alan Goff
    • What lawsuits?

      @Michael Alan Goff
      Can you provide me with a link? I was under the impression that MS has yet to sue any Android OEM over these patents but I could be wrong.
      toddybottom
      • RE: Another Android and Chrome OS device developer pays Microsoft patent royalties

        @toddybottom

        There haven't been any lawsuits from Microsoft yet because they've only had to threaten. Do you think that those Android OEMs just reached out to Microsoft to give them money?

        But overall, I was talking about the climate in general. Why innovate when you can litigate?
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Another Android and Chrome OS device developer pays Microsoft patent royalties

        @Michael Alan Goff
        I see you don't know what the difference between a lawsuit is and a meeting between companies are lol. Man you guys are the funniest people ever. Lawsuit what apple and Samsung have. nothing like what happened here. Did you hear any judge make a decision. lol
        FlatbushE21
  • RE: Another Android and Chrome OS device developer pays Microsoft patent royalties

    I think the scary part is that Microsoft keeps being reported as making companies sign non disclosures .... which means, nobody can say what those infringements are, so more people can ignorantly use them, so Microsoft can keep making money off of them.
    madbohem
    • All companies utilize NDAs.

      @madbohem

      What is your point?
      Bruizer