Microsoft is not a name we have seen in relation to Samsung lately, especially since 2011, when the two giants last confronted each other about patent licensing and royalties. And it’s not the relationship you’d think. The deal was, as agreed upon by the two companies, that Samsung would begin paying the $15-per-device cost of licensing some of the Windows giant’s patent portfolio which contain some patents that are ‘essential for a mobile device’, specifically for an Android device. Note, Samsung is not the only one to agree, as HTC did so before Samsung. But today, apparently, Samsung has had enough. Here’s what I mean.
Samsung has, in a number of letters to various groups, parts, and people of Microsoft that the Korean company will no longer be paying the fee, the ‘device royalty’, if you will, which Microsoft imposed three years ago. The patents that cost Samsung $15 per device are needed for an Android device and there are many. There’s actually a whopping 310 patents, as let out by a Chinese company back in mid-June of this year, that Samsung pays to license and utilize in its devices. I won’t go into exhaustive detail about each one, but would like to highlight a few, then carry on with the legal action that Microsoft decided to take today.
If you want to look through the list yourself download it here, otherwise, let’s carry on. One patent of note is the patent #7596760, which is: System and Method for Selecting a Tab Within a Tabbed Browser. Yes, how to use tabs in a browser, since Android phones and their browsers use tabbed interfaces. Yep, had to license that one. Next up is the one that covers: Searching and Browsing URLs and URL History. That’s #7831547. Then here’s one for you students, business-folk, or reminder-loving type people. Patent #6356956. It covers how an event is triggered at and by a certain time, and a reminder, or something activates automatically. What? And people dislike Apple’s patent portfolio for being vague, while Microsoft has sucker punches like these, among many other patents. As a final note Microsoft, according to a report by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, also has patents that cover 802.11 W-Fi and 3G/4G/LTE, so yeah.
Now, back to What Microsoft did about Samsung’s refusal to pay ‘patent rent’. The Windows-maker is suing Samsung for disregarding and breaking the agreement from 2011. Microsoft’s case will, if the suing company is victorious in court, call the pact between the two companies “valid and enforceable” and it would “rule that Samsung owes Microsoft interest for any late payments”. Samsung has been late in its payments of ‘patent rent’ since late 2013. It’s doubtful that this will go away quietly, unless Samsung can pull a major victory for the Android manufacturing world. And that’s the important part. This is for use of these patents on Android devices by manufacturers, not just Android (which would pull Google into this completely), so keep that in mind as news and cases develop in court. For coverage on those developments and happenings, be sure to stay tuned for more.