Kyocera an electronics and ceramics corporation located in Kyoto, Japan has just agreed to extend its licensing patent with tech giant Microsoft, and in turn end the infringement lawsuit Microsoft had brought against it. Kyocera is known mostly for low-end handsets and rugged survival phones such as the DuraScout used by English outdoorsman Bear Grylls. This past March, Microsoft filed a lawsuit with the U.S District Court in Microsoft’s hometown of Seattle, Washington alleging Kyocera violated seven patents owned by Microsoft on the Duraforce, Hydro, and Brigadier smartphones. They also had asked for a sales injunction on those products in the United States at that time. Kyocera is the fourth Android maker Microsoft has sued since 2010. They sued Motorola in that first year and Barnes & Noble a year later in 2011. Microsoft also sued Samsung in 2014 over a contract, not a patent as in those previous cases. Microsoft said the patents in question used by Kyocera were related to location services and text messaging on the aforementioned smartphones. At the time Microsoft deputy general counsel David Howard said, “We respect Kyocera, but we believe they need to license the patented technology they are using. We’re hopeful this case can be resolved amicably.”
It seems to have taken five months, but the two companies look to have patched up their differences and have reached that amicable resolution. Microsoft released this short press release “Today Kyocera Corporation and Microsoft Corp. announced they have signed an agreement expanding on a prior patent licensing arrangement. The new agreement enables the companies to use a broader range of each other’s technologies in their respective products through a patent cross license.”
This arrangement is especially beneficial for Kyocera seeing as they only currently sell Android phones that can be found on the big four of Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Kyocera just recently revealed a future Windows 8.1 phone at this year’s Mobile World Congress 2015 so it’s unknown if that phone would have been impacted by the lawsuit. As far as Microsoft is concerned there are rumors that they might be planning to shut down their own mobile division and start selling Android. So if that rumor is true, this new cross-licensing agreement with Kyocera might be a bigger deal in the future then it seems to be at the moment. Then again it’s just a rumor and only time will tell.