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LG latest Android user to license patents from Microsoft

Posted by bryanh on Jan 12, 2012, Categories: Mobile News


LG is the latest phone maker to sign Mircrosoft's patent license agreement. Image: John.Karakatsanis/Flickr/CC BY-SA

LG Electronics has become the most recent Android vendor to license Microsoft patents in order to avoid potential future lawsuits. Ten other device manufacturers have previously signed agreements to leverage Google’s platform. Microsoft made the announcement in a press release Thursday.

Patent licensing agreement

The patent licensing agreement covers LG’s tablets, mobile devices and “other consumer devices” that run on the Android operating system. As in past agreements with other device makers, no details of the deal were released.

Patents affect Android and Chrome OS

Microsoft continues to contend that the Google Android and Chrome OS platforms infringe on several undisclosed patents it owns. In addition to LG, 10 other manufacturers have struck similar deals with Microsoft in the past. Those companies include HTC, Samsung, Quanta, Wistron, Acer and five others.

Criticism and defense

According to TechCrunch, Google has categorized Microsoft’s methods as “pure extortion.”

Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Microsoft’s Intellectual Property Group, countered the criticism by tweeting that patent licensing is the way to avoid IP conflicts:

“How should the smartphone industry resolve IP disputes in the software stack? Let’s try licensing.”

Bragging rights

Gutierrez, undaunted by critics, further boasted:

“More than 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S. are now receiving coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio.”

Licensing holdouts, court battles

Motorola Mobility and Barnes & Noble remain holdouts. Both companies are fighting separate battles with the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant. Motorola Mobility’s smartphones use an Android platform, as does Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablet.

On Jan. 11, Microsoft cut one of the patents from its case against Barnes & Noble. The plaintiff also narrowed the scope of its complaints regarding four other patents.

The International Trade Commission made a preliminary ruling in the Motorola Mobility dispute in December. The federal agency tentatively sided in Microsoft’s favor.



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