Microsoft signs Hop-on Inc. as another Android patent licensee

Microsoft signs Hop-on Inc. as another Android patent licensee

Summary: U.S.-based cellphone maker Hop-on is the latest company to sign an Android patent-licensing deal with Microsoft.

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A week after announcing an Android patent-licensing deal with Voxx Electronics, Microsoft is announcing yet another Android/Chrome OS patent licensee: Hop-on Inc.

hoponandroidpatent

Hop-On is paying Microsoft an undisclosed amount of royalties for patented software it is using on its smartphones and tablets, according to a February 20 press release.

"We are pleased that the list of companies benefitting from Microsoft's Android licensing program now includes a U.S.-based manufacturer of affordable cellular technologies," said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of the Innovation and Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft in a statement in the press release.

Hop-On is a global OEM/ODM (original equipment manufacturer/original design manufacturer) of electronics. The company is based in Las Vegas. According to Hop-on's Web site, the company "has successfully secured essential patents for mobile communications and computing technologies, and is respected for developing the world’s first disposable cell phone."

Hop-on makes not only smartphones and tablets, but also Android and/or Chrome OS-based televisions, set-top boxes, eReaders and mobile-device apps.

According to FOSS Patents founder Florian Mueller, Microsoft had announced 21 Android-patent licensing deals prior to the Hop-On one. Microsoft previously signed patent-licensing deals with companies using Android and Chrome OS, under which those companies have agreed to pay Microsoft undisclosed fees to cover unspecified patented Microsoft technologies that are part of these Google operating systems.

Microsoft previously signed patent licenses with Samsung, LG, HTC, Acer, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and more.

For Microsoft, patent licensing is believed to be one of the company's billion-dollar businesses in its own right.

Topics: Android, Google, Legal, Microsoft, Patents

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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45 comments
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  • Come on Microsoft be honest...

    What are the patents you are using to extract licensee fees?
    Why is it the users of Android being targeted and not Google as they own Android?
    Or does Microsoft only pick on the little guys?

    I am sure we all would appreciate answers to the above questions.
    pjc158
    • pick on the little guys?

      Like Amazon and Samsung?
      Gee, you must be brilliant!
      moodjbow
    • I can tell you one reason they haven't gone after google

      I believe the patent licensing is mostly centered around the trivial Fat32 long filename extension patent. Fat itself isn't even patented. Most devices with removable storage want interoperability with windows and fat32 is a convenient (insecure), standard file system for removable storage.

      Notice that google does not have SD card slots in their nexus phones and stock android has USB mass storage disabled. Android does not use Fat filesystem internally for the OS (thankfully). Also notice no licensing offer has been brought to google. Why samsung, though - who does have SD slots and are as big and powerful as google?
      drwong
      • Good point

        My Galaxy Nexus doesn't have an SD slot either.
        John L. Ries
      • but you are just speculating

        Since you have no positive idea what patents are involved with these licensing deals, you are just blinding making up reasons why you think something is or isn't happening.

        For that matter, there really isn't any way to tell who Microsoft has and hasn't gone after. Most of these deals just pop up AFTER they have been agreed upon. Very few have leaked when the deals are still being negotiated.

        For all we know Microsoft could have been in discussions with Google/Motorola.
        Emacho
    • I'm outraged

      by the behavior of the M$ (i)legal thugs !
      The DoJ should start investigating M$ for patent trolling against FOSS!
      LlNUX Geek
      • I am outraged

        that scamdroid and scroogle continue to use stolen ip to create their insecure OS, come on scroogle, license the technology now and quit leaving the ODMs to hang out in the wind!!!
        hoppmang
      • Please detail the illegal activites that Microsoft is employing

        Don't just throw out accusations. Give some details. What exactly is Microsoft doing that is illegal?

        If Microsoft is doing something illegal, then it should be easy for these companies to bust Microsofts patent licensing attempts and make Microsoft look stupid.

        Sort of like how Microsoft made Google look stupid for trying to demand sales bans and 4 billion... BILLION.. dollars a year over wifi and one video standard essential FRAND patents.

        You know, patents that must be offered to everyone at a fair and reasonable price and not used in a manner to harm competitors.


        Is that the type of illegal/abusive use of patents you are trying to accuse Microsoft of doing?
        Emacho
      • investigation

        don't worry, the EU is looking into android for the windows-like monopoly and bundling abuse. DOJ likely next. There will be a huge anti-trust related woes coming, for google.
        neonspark
    • Google

      don't make any hardware (now that they have sold Motorola), they let OEMs make it for them.

      The licensing is usually on a per device basis, so there isn't much that Google would need to pay. Samsung, HTC et al on the other hand are pumping out millions of devices using the technology.

      And I wouldn't call Samsung "little", they sell more phones than Apple.
      wright_is
    • answer

      1) MSFT has a duty to shareholders to maximize profits on its IP. So they would get sued for not doing this.
      2) google doesn't ship enough devices to matter. If MSFT can sign up most of the android OEMs, they would profit more than the long legal battle with google, which basically after the sale of motorolla is a deviceless company.
      3) google picks on the little guys too. so what?
      neonspark
  • I wonder why Google hasn't signed on

    Mayhap Google might actually allow any patent claims be adjudicated by a court.
    John L. Ries
    • But Google must have doubts on winning a lawsuit

      Why aren't they offering indemnification promises to their oem's?

      If Google really believed there were no issues with android ip, then it would be in their best interest to force a lawsuit from MS. Google could then settle this issue once and for all.
      otaddy
    • so?

      what's google share of the android device shipments? minor at best. not worth the trouble.
      neonspark
      • Get an injunction against Google

        And MS could take direct control of Android cheap. Maybe even take it entirely off the market, so it could be replaced with Windows. Or maybe MS could license its patents to Google in exchange for Google Docs and any other Google businesses MS finds threatening.

        If MS really thinks that Android is infringing its patents, then its duty is to eliminate the infringement, not just to "monetize" it.
        John L. Ries
  • Tell us the patents, and how much you are charging for a license!

    Why the NDA? Otherwise I continue spreading the bad word to friends and family, what an unethical company you are. How are you any different from the mob?
    drwong
    • Stolen ip

      wong, look it up.
      hoppmang
      • I did look it up

        I get results back from bing; stolen IP address.
        RickLively
    • Unethical???

      Why would they disclose it --they have no legal reason to do so and it is in their interests not to do so. And really why do you think you have the right to the terms of an agreement between two private individual entities? I do not have the right to the terms of any contract that you have entered into. If they ever sue you or threaten suit and offer you a licensing deal, they will disclose to you what they deem as violations.
      brickengraver
      • entitlement

        correct. it's funny how entitled people feel when it comes to google related matters. When google does the same, they defend the confidentiality, yet when google is on the receiving end, it's all a big deal.
        neonspark