LG signs Android, Chrome OS patent deal with Microsoft

LG signs Android, Chrome OS patent deal with Microsoft

Summary: LG Electronics is the latest Android vendor to license Microsoft patents in order to head off potential legal issues.


It's been a couple of months since Microsoft has touted any new Android/Chrome OS vendors agreeing to license its patents. But that drought ended on January 12 with an announcement from the Softies regarding LG Electronics. Microsoft and LG have signed a patent agreement covering LG's tablets, mobile phones and other devices running Android or Chrome OS, according to a Microsoft press release. Terms of the deal between the two are not being disclosed.

Horacio Gutierrez, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Microsoft's Intellectual Property Group, took to Twitter today to make his usual argument that licensing patents is the way to head off IP clashes.

As of today, Microsoft now has 11 patent-licensing deals with Android and Chrome OS makers , almost all (if not all) of which involve those vendors agreeing to pay Microsoft licensing fees for undisclosed Microsoft patents upon which Microsoft officials have said that Android and Chrome OS potentially infringe. Other Android/Chrome OS licensees of Microsoft's patents include OEMs and ODMs Compal, HTC, Samsung, Quanta, Wistron,

Microsoft officials said as of today "more than 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S. are now receiving coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio."

Barnes & Noble (with its Android-based Nook) and Motorola Mobility (with its Android-based smartphones) are currently fighting against licensing Microsoft's patents for their Android-based products.

Topics: Legal, Apps, Google, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems


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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  • LG is that broke they can't afford to fight it

    from what I heard, only poor little cash strapped companies signed the agreement, not large companies like LG
    William Farrel
    • RE: LG signs Android, Chrome OS patent deal with Microsoft

      @William Farrel <br>Samsung is not a cash strapped company. Look at their lastet financials. They have sign "the" agreement with Microsoft. You are a reader of this blog, I see your comments all the time, you know what you say is not true. Some of the largestest companies in the world have signed Microsoft patent agreements.
      • RE: LG signs Android, Chrome OS patent deal with Microsoft

        @oraman Sir you missed the sarcasm !! You need a lesson in sarcasm comprehension !!!!
      • RE: LG signs Android, Chrome OS patent deal with Microsoft

        @oraman so true, as have they signed with Apple, IBM etc. Why wouldn't you license the technology before the company who holds it's patent ends up owning you! Not doing it is stealing no matter how dumb the patented idea or technology is. Doing it is just smart business.
    • LG is that broke they can't afford to fight it? WHAT?

      @William Farrel, Am I the only one that sees the big picture here? The GOVT. has been issuing junk patents to keep the big companies happy, there are thousands of wothless/useless patents that are held strictly as as way to legally dissuade someone from competing. The way things play out is based on who merges with who and which junk patents they have. So if more of your potential infringements are against APPLE, you partner with them and license to protect yourself from Microsoft, and vica-versa. Its like more like buying insurance than being too poor to fight. Both companies have demonstrated that they are willing to mercilously sue for a junk patent infringement, which they will win, since they have the patent. But as a manufacturer you must see that they hold the patent no matter how stupid the patent is, and it's smarter to license and avoid costly litigation you can't win. It's called smart, not broke!
      • You are expecting SENSIBLE comments from a troll?

        Please, just ignore them, and do NOT feed them!
  • this is outright patent abuse!

    The DOJ should investigate immediately the M$ patent goons and and demand relief for all the brave FOSS players like MMI and B&N.
    The Linux Geek
    • RE: LG signs Android, Chrome OS patent deal with Microsoft

      @The Linux Geek <br>Maybe, maybe not. As indicated by your name, you're obviously a free software advocate so you may not understand this but I'll give it a try... Why wouldn't anybody in their right mind file a patent to protect something that they spent a lot of money and a lot of time inventing? Now, given that I don't know that MS invented anything that's covered under these patents (which I actually doubt), still there must be something on place to protect the inventors. But, I agree with others that the patent abuse is a bit ridiculous. It's those that truly innovate that should be allowed to protect what they innovate. Otherwise, why would anyone bother coming up with ideas if some other company is going to come along and make all the money from a stolen idea???
      • RE: LG signs Android, Chrome OS patent deal with Microsoft

        @rpollard@... The other thing that people forget is that patents expire and most of these are close to expiring by now. Those poeple who argue against patent protection protecting innovation are forgetting this important fact and jumping up and down over really nothing. (As long as MS doesn't pull a swifty and try and patent derivations of the original patents...abuse can still occur).
    • RE: LG signs Android, Chrome OS patent deal with Microsoft

      @The Linux Geek yep....just like Apples suit against samsung where they use a petent that their interface can recognize a string of characters and point it out to its user. Like that isnt what all interface softwear does? How can there be a patent for that. It would be like me getting a patent for a cab company because our drivers watch for oncoming cars. I could probably get the patent cuz noone has tried before me. Then I could run every other cab company out of business because their drivers keep seeing oncoming trafic, infringing on my patent! That is how stupid and sophomoric the tech companies have gotten, and I'm sickened by it!
  • No Details at All On Terms

    For all we know this is a cross-licensing deal, and no money at all changed hands. If LG is actually paying a license fee for each phone, then I imagine at least that little bit of information will come out soon because it would serve Microsoft's purposes for it to be known. If it doesn't get verified, then I would suspect it's not happening.
    • RE: LG signs Android, Chrome OS patent deal with Microsoft

      It's almost a guarantee that LG is paying Microsoft a fee per device. Some of the other deals were around $5-8 per device that manufacturers are paying Microsoft. Truly absurd.
      • RE: LG signs Android, Chrome OS patent deal with Microsoft

        @apexwm Rather than being a lazy cheap OEM LG should have started investing in R&D a long time ago and could have had MS pay them instead of the other way around.
  • LG runs various Microsoft Windows operating systems on their devices

    Meaning that LG is also a Microsoft business partner. Companies that are Microsoft business partners seem to be signing these agreements involving Android and ChromeOS. There must be something about being a Microsoft business partner that drives companies to sign these agreements. Any ideas?

    As far as I know, neither Motorola Mobility nor Barnes & Noble are Microsoft business partners. This gives these companies a large measure of independence from Microsoft.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Not all the comapnies are Microsoft Business Partners

      @Rabid Howler Monkey
      and for Motorola and B&N, it makes sense to fight, even if they know they're in the wrong.
      For Motorola to sign an agreement with MS would be a slap in the face of the company that just bought them, (Google) creator of Android. It would be like Google admitting that they did willfully infringe on others IP.

      As for B&N, their lawyers likely told them to fight, since its predicted that B&N will almost certainly have to file for bankruptcy in the near future, they have nothing to lose, and would most likely not have to pay MS any large settlement when they lose, probally just be told to fix the issue with the nook, the less expensive alternative.
      William Farrel
      • They are NOT wrong.....

        @William Farrel

        It will be found that these patents are not valid or enforceable and B&N has begun the process to prove that. What a waste of money to license Microsoft's blackmail. Microsoft is carefully choosing their victims, those that can't fight back, trying to build precedent, knowing that these patents will not stand up when challenged.

        Microsoft is the king of the patent trolls.
        linux for me
      • It Would Not Be Like Such an Admission

        @William Farrel
        "It would be like Google admitting that they did willfully infringe on others IP."

        It would not even be close to such an admission for them to settle with Microsoft. First, there are so many odd patents out there it's impossible to be sure that one of them doesn't ostensibly apply to your product. Second, companies settle lawsuits as a matter of expedience all the time. Settling a lawsuit is not even an admission that you are in violation much less an admission that you are willfully in violation.

        In actuality, if Motorola didn't think they had at least a decent chance to win the case, they'd settle, since a settlement draws much less attention than a lost case would.
      • Right, B&N to the rescue.

        @William Farrel
        the soon to be in serious fincial trouble company being so much smarter then all the other companies who signed, as they see validity with th epatents.

        Sorry, can't be as opptimistic as you.
        William Farrel
      • RE: LG signs Android, Chrome OS patent deal with Microsoft

        @Linux for me
        I don't know why the reply button does not show for you, anyway, if MSFT is the king of the patent trolls, what would you say that Google is? Since they have, and been proven, taken code from many others to put into Android, the king of thiefs?
        Moreover, when any other OS maker is told or finds weaknesses or security holes in their OS, they all rush to try to plug it. Except who? Google, that has more holes in Android than a donut factory, but does nothing to secure or respond to the deficiencies. That to me is a lot more of a grievance than two companies paying each others for patents licenses, because it personally affects me and, as a surprise to you, it affects you also.
      • RE: LG signs Android, Chrome OS patent deal with Microsoft

        @William Farrel Wouldn't your scenario automatically be that "fixing the problem with the nook" without fighting is automatically the cheapest route, since the court fees, your opponents legal costs and the fix are way more than the fix alone? Not to mention that for some reason, I don't know why either, you don't think the court system will fine them? Once the courts hear that they were warned they were infringing, chose not to correct, forced this legal battle, ran up huge legal costs for both parties and court fees, wasted the cout's time, (Judges LOVE that one), all the while KNOWING they were wrong??? Oh yes.....you WILL BE PAYING SOME FINES!!!!!! BIG FINES....