Microsoft convinces another Android vendor to sign a patent-protection deal

Microsoft convinces another Android vendor to sign a patent-protection deal

Summary: Microsoft has added another Android backer to the list of those signing with Redmond for patent protection: General Dynamics.

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Microsoft has added another Android backer to the list of those signing with Redmond for patent protection.

On June 27, Microsoft announced that General Dynamics Itronix signed a patent agreement with Microsoft for Itronix devices running Android. Microsoft characterized the agreement as  providing "broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for General Dynamics Itronix devices running the Android platform."

"Although the contents of the agreement have not been disclosed, the parties indicate that Microsoft will receive royalties from General Dynamics Itronix under the agreement," said Microsoft in its press release.

The General Dynamics Itronix devices are ruggedized mobile tablets, netbooks and ultramobile PCs. Many of the products in the Itronix line are running various versions of Windows, according to their spec sheets. But the GD300, a "Rugged Wearable Computer for Military, Federal/Civil and Commercial Field Service Personnel," is Android-based.

Microsoft has signed patent-protection agreements with a number of device makers using Linux in their products, including Amazon,TomTom, Melco/Buffalo and more. More recently, Microsoft has been targeting vendors running Google's Linux-based Android operating system and is working to convince them to pay royalties to Microsoft to cover alleged patent-infringement issues involving Android. HTC signed a patent-protection deal with Microsoft for an undisclosed amount last year that focused on Android.

Not all Android vendors are signing on the IP (intellectual property) dotted line, however. Barnes & Noble is in a legal fight with Microsoft over Microsoft’s claim from earlier this year that the Android-based Nook e-reader violates Microsoft patents.

Some industry watchers believe Microsoft is currently making more from its Android patent deals than it is from licensing the Windows Phone operating system in the smartphone market.

Topics: CXO, Microsoft, IT Employment

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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95 comments
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  • this racketeering must stop!

    M$ cyber-mafia should stop bullying innovative companies that rely on FOSS.
    The people should raise and DOJ should investigate these unscrupulous and dirty deeds!
    Linux Geek
    • RE: Microsoft convinces another Android vendor to sign a patent-protection deal

      @Linux Geek
      If Google had done their due diligence to protect their dev partners with patent protection, then they wouldn't be in this situation to begin with.
      Google=shortsighted
      reklissrick
      • RE: Microsoft convinces another Android vendor to sign a patent-protection deal

        @rekliss007
        we all know those are phony M$ patents!
        Google knows better than law hacks wanna be.
        Linux Geek
      • No.

        @rekliss007 If Microsoft actually had something to sue on, don't you think they'd have sued by now? 2 years later and no lawsuits... Just FUD.

        If Microsoft actually had something they'd sue, but they haven't. It just shows that they can't put their money where their collective oversized mouth is.
        snoop0x7b
      • RE: Microsoft convinces another Android vendor to sign a patent-protection deal

        @reklissrick They have protected their partners, but not well enough :)<br><a href="http://www.ofertareonline.ro/ferestre-termopan.html">Termopan</a>
        termopane
    • Unless, of course, the FOSS people...

      @Linux Geek

      ...stepped on a patent landmine or ten...

      Not saying if MS patent claims hold water, but a lot of big company lawyers seem to be willing to tell their bosses to send MS royalties--and since when does a lawyer ever spend money they don't have to?

      The number of companies paying royalties should worry FOSS types. Especially considering how easy it is to run afoul of software patents in the mire they've made of development...
      wolf_z
      • RE: Microsoft convinces another Android vendor to sign a patent-protection deal

        @wolf_z
        those are corrupt or dumb lawyers.
        Nobody owes M$ one iota!
        Linux Geek
      • RE: Microsoft convinces another Android vendor to sign a patent-protection deal

        @wolf_z
        Lawyers will tell you all the time to pay them off if it is cheaper than a court fight and the lawyers don't care who is right or wrong. They just tell to sign or settle or whatever because its cheaper. Patent lawsuits are terribly expensive and very few companies want to get in to a patent fight and then find out their patents have been invalidated by the courts. It is better to settle than possibly loose patents in a lawyer's mind.

        The problem for Microsoft is the longer they keep it a secret what patents Linux is supposedly infringing on the lower their damages awarded by the court are going to be. The courts will say if you were really damaged why the huge wait when you realized your patents were being infringed on. I also suspect that Microsoft does not want to get into a patent fight with the Open Source community. The Open Source community has done prior art research before and gotten a couple of patents invalided. Microsoft would have to know for a fact that no one out there ever thought of and did what their patent covers. If there is even 1 person who did it, the patent is invalid. Do you really want 40-50,000 people combing the net, libraries, published papers, program examples trying to invalidate your patents? I sure wouldn't. The cost to hirer a patent lawyer to do that level of research would be astronomical. The Open Source community can do it because there are many of them and they are passionate about Open Source. I certainly wouldn't want to get in a patent fight with them given their track record and massive numbers.
        tim.w.jung@...
      • RE: Microsoft convinces another Android vendor to sign a patent-protection deal

        @wolf_z many of them to corrupt or dumb lawyer. <a href="http://www.paperprofs.com/writing-types/thesis/">thesis</a>
        andrewroy
    • The Evil

      @Linux Geek

      MS is the EVIL
      Sultansulan
      • Seriously, EVIL?

        @Sultansulan So what company isn't evil then? Linux isn't a company, but Red Hat is. Red Hat takes Linux, slaps a bunch of junk code on it and charges money for something that is essentially free. Apple wants to control every step of the process, from purchase to recycling your device, and every line of code (or make money off every app installed anywhere).

        So tell me what company isn't evil by your definition. Google? Being ill-prepared for corporate negotiations isn't evil, its just immature.

        There are no evil companies, just companies who make a profit and companies that don't. I mean, is it evil that you want a paycheck?
        A Gray
      • RE: Microsoft convinces another Android vendor to sign a patent-protection deal

        @Sultansulan we all have or had jobs/careers @ 1 time (i'm retired) well off & snug as a bug in a rug. only 62. we all need to make a stand sooner or?. retired from aircraft after 27yrs. all tried to make me cut corners to save money @ the expense of the airplane or the riding fare. to me it was a big NO!. if they can replace you they will. if not, as they say, "It's my way; or the Highway!. save your money, money is power; leading to the origonal article. if you have enough to satisfy yourself you don't have to compromise or be under someone's thumb. enough people don't buy their product, down falls the tower. BY! BY!.
        flybyknight4.0
      • Evil is as evil does.

        @Sultansulan Yes! @A Gray doesn't see that Red Hat isn't falsely claiming Linux IP for their own and bullying other vendors with their monopoly-gained war chest.
        pDaleC@...
      • RE: Microsoft convinces another Android vendor to sign a patent-protection deal

        @A Gray<br>You might want to do a little more research about Red Hat. Red Hat releases everything they do open source. Take a look at Cent OS. It is repackaged Red Hat Enterprise without support and without the Red Hat name. So exactly what is the problem? I should also mention that Red Hat is one of the top companies contributing code to the Linux kernel as well as other projects. So I definitely would not call Red Hat evil. They do a lot for the Open Source community. Red Hat even helps run a completely free version of Linux, the Fedora distribution. Yes it does help them in the sense they can try cutting edge stuff in Fedora before putting it in their Enterprise supported version, but they give Fedora away for free and pay a few people to work on it with the community.<br><br>You get your corporation called evil when you flat out steal from other companies. (See the Stacker lawsuit). You get called evil when you announce a product that you haven't even started on just to keep people from buying a competitor's product. (Vaporware was invented to describe Microsoft tactics & Power Pointware as well) You get called evil when you design your OS to specifically crash your competitor's software so that you can sell more of yours. (DOS ain't done til Lotus don't run & DR-DOS case they lost) You get called evil when your corporation is convicted under anti-trust laws in the US and in the EU. You get called evil when it comes out in a trial you told people in your company do whatever it takes I don't care but cut off their air supply and kill them. (About Netscape at the anti-trust trial) You get called evil when you screw over companies you partner with. (See Stacker & IBM OS/2) You get called evil when you tell computer manufacturers that they must pay you for a copy of your OS for every computer you make/sell even if it doesn't have your OS on it and then switch to charge by the CPU for multiple CPU (SMP) systems. (Windows OEM license deals) I would call it evil when your paid to develop an OS for a company and then rig the contract so you can sell it to every other computer company out there. You also tell them you already have an OS that you can convert for them when you have absolutely nothing. (IBM DOS deal)<br><br><br>Microsoft has never innovated one thing for the software industry. They have done far more damage to it and retarded its growth. We could be so much farther ahead now if Microsoft weren't around. Direct X? Nope they bought the company who developed that. Office? Nope they copied Lotus. DOS? Nope they bought that from a guy. Windows? Nope they bought the rights from PARC & stole from GEM. Microsoft is famous for saying they will have a competing product out in a few months and better than their's so you don't buy from the competitor. In reality is more than year before it comes out, features have been slashed out and the product is buggy and crashes a lot. When you say look at version 3.X of a product how awesome it is, our brand new program will be just as awesome, but sweeps under the rug the fact that 1 and 2 were bad and it took a long time to get to 3. When you lie, cheat and steal your company will get called evil.
        tim.w.jung@...
    • RE: Microsoft convinces another Android vendor to sign a patent-protection deal

      @snoop0x7b
      You may need to do some research. Both Motorola and B&N are facing lawsuits from Microsoft.
      jessiethe3rd
    • Perhaps FOSS should stop Patent Theft

      @Linux Geek
      Under the law that's been around for at least a couple hundred years, there are a number of patents that Google violated in Android. Now, if Google had only been that nice law abiding citizen instead of a theif, this wouldn't have happened. Then again, even Google can't innovate when developing FOSS. Guess it's just another symptom of the FOSS movement.
      The Nasty Old Troll
    • RE: Microsoft convinces another Android vendor to sign a patent-protection deal

      @Linux Geek yes cyber mafia have to stop the creating bullying innovative companies on foss. <a href="http://www.paperprofs.com/writing-types/research-papers/">researchpaper</a> | <a href="http://www.paperprofs.com/writing-types/book-report/">book report</a> | <a href="http://www.paperprofs.com/writing-types/admission-essays/">Admission essay</a>
      andrewroy
  • I really do hate software patents

    N/T
    Michael Alan Goff
    • I agree

      @goff256
      I agree. At most software patents should be 1 year.
      kashyap.bikram@...
      • RE: Microsoft convinces another Android vendor to sign a patent-protection deal

        And you shouldn't be able to patent obvious things like.... using the tab button to scroll through links.

        I think the main problem has become that anything can be patented, and that limits smaller companies from making anything.
        Michael Alan Goff