Microsoft is suing Samsung over unpaid patent royalties


One of the world’s top tech companies is suing Samsung for patent violations, only this time its not Apple. Microsoft announced this afternoon that it filed a lawsuit against Samsung in the U.S. District Court of Southern District of New York, for not paying up on cross-licensed intellectual property from Microsoft that its been using in smartphones since 2011. David Howard, Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft, says Samsung was happy to pay for the tech when the two companies entered into a contract in 2011 when it only shipped 82 million Android phones. Fast forward to 2013, and Samsung shipped 314 million Android, thus becoming the world’s top smartphone maker in terms of units sold, which is right when it decided it didn’t need to pay Microsoft anymore.

Microsoft Corp. sued Samsung Electronics Co., claiming its Korean rival violated a patent-licensing contract. The dispute involves technology included in Android, Google Inc.’s operating system for mobile phones and tablets. Samsung is the leading maker of Android devices. Microsoft holds patents on technologies it says are included in Android, such as methods for displaying multiple windows in a Web browser. The Redmond, Wash., company has struck patent cross-licensing agreements with several Android-device makers including Samsung and HTC Corp. Microsoft also on occasion has sued some Android device makers for allegedly infringing on its patents. Under a 2011 deal, Samsung pays Microsoft an undisclosed amount for each Android phone and tablet it sells. Nomura Securities analyst Rick Sherlund last year estimated Microsoft collects roughly $2 billion annually from patent fees on Android devices. In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Microsoft said Samsung failed to make a recent royalty payment on time, and then refused to pay interest on its late payment. Samsung has said Microsoft’s April purchase of Nokia Corp.’s mobile-devices business violated terms of the companies’ licensing contract and another business agreement, according to Microsoft’s court filing.

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