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Microsoft sues Samsung over Android patent fee dispute

Microsoft has announced it is suing Samsung over Android patent fee dispute started last year.

Legal action has been started in New York after Microsoft accused Samsung of failing to pay Android patent fees.

Marking the first time Microsoft has entered into a legal battle with Samsung, the action has come out of a long running “fundamental disagreement” between the two companies originally started last year.
“In 2011, after months of painstaking negotiation, Samsung voluntarily entered into a legally binding contract with Microsoft to cross-license IP – an agreement which has been extremely beneficial for both parties”, explained David Howard, Corporate VP and Deputy General Counsel for Microsoft in a public statement.

Although Android is actually Google property, Microsoft claims ownership of hundreds of patent relating to the mobile operating system.

Microsoft has deals with over 25 companies including Samsung, HTC and ZTE for license related fees. But Samsung has decided it is not paying up any more.

“After becoming the leading player in the worldwide smartphone market, Samsung decided late last year to stop complying with its agreement with Microsoft. In September 2013, after Microsoft announced it was acquiring the Nokia Devices and Services business, Samsung began using the acquisition as an excuse to breach its contract.”

The idea that the Nokia acquisition is being used as some kind of get out close was reiterated by leaked censored court papers filed by Microsoft’s lawyer. They indicated that Samsung blocked a second payment of IP feeds following the Nokia news.

Although Samsung apparently paid the outstanding fee in November, it still owes Microsoft the interest on the sum for the period it went unpaid.

“We will review the complaint in detail and determine appropriate measures in response,” said Samsung in a statement.

No doubt, Microsoft is keen to solve this issue with Samsung before other companies start treating it as a precedent. This could cause other companies to follow suit, cancelling their own payments and causing Microsoft to lose a valuable revenue stream.

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