Another Android and Chrome OS device developer pays Microsoft patent royalties

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.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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.

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