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Microsoft Android Patents

Microsoft Files Legal Action Against Samsung Over Android Patent Dispute 83

Posted by Soulskill
from the ready-for-a-rematch dept.
DroidJason1 writes: Microsoft has filed a contract dispute lawsuit against Samsung over what Microsoft claims is a breach of contract by Samsung involving Android patent royalties. Back in 2011, Samsung voluntarily entered into a legally binding contract with Microsoft in a cross-licensing IP agreement involving Android patents. Samsung has grown over the past few years and now believes that Microsoft's recent acquisition of Nokia nulls the agreement. Microsoft has gone to court and is asking to settle the disagreement with Samsung in order to continue the original agreement.
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Microsoft Files Legal Action Against Samsung Over Android Patent Dispute

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  • The only people winning this are the IP lawyers.
  • Samsung: so sue us (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mveloso (325617) on Friday August 01, 2014 @05:03PM (#47585315)

    Samsung's penalties have been pathetically small, so there's no real cost to them when it comes to violating and/or ignoring other people's IP.

    Samsung's position is entirely rational, but less than ethical.

    • by machineghost (622031) on Friday August 01, 2014 @05:06PM (#47585339)

      Wait, since when did ethics have anything to do with IP law?

      • by mveloso (325617)

        It doesn't. But it matters in the court of public opinion, which is why this is news.

        • by nwf (25607)

          It doesn't. But it matters in the court of public opinion, which is why this is news.

          Most of the people I see with Samsung phones can't spell lawyer, so I don't think it's going to matter.

    • by thegarbz (1787294) on Friday August 01, 2014 @06:28PM (#47585957)

      Samsung's position is entirely rational, but less than ethical.

      How can you comment on the ethics of what Samsung is doing without actually having read the contract in full? For all we know the contract had a no competition clause which Microsoft may have violated by buying Nokia.

      That's the life of contracts. I'm involved in the shutdown of a major industrial plant in my city. The way these things happen is that you look at the costs of running, and you look at the costs of the alternatives. The alternative costs include things such as legal wrangling over details of contracts you're trying to get out of.

      It would be unethical to NOT try and get out of a contract which is costing you money for no good reason. This is just standard business practice and it's no different to arguing with your ISP who wants to charge you a full month even if your connection was unavailable for a week (been involved in this one as well and ended up getting a full month free).

      • by HiThere (15173)

        Your aren't talking about ethics or morals, you're talking contract law. And we don't know what the contract amounts to. We do, however, know that MS was treatening to sue people right and left over secret patents, so it's quite reasonable that Samsung may have felt that they were coerced into signing the agreement. If so, then it's quite ethical to look for any escape hole.

    • Samsung's position is entirely rational, but less than ethical.

      You don't know that, because you don't know the full story.

    • by FirstOne (193462)

      Samsung's position is entirely rational, but less than ethical.

      more than ethical, for different reasons.

      Since Microsoft purchase Nokia, they must enter into a cross license agreement or pay royalties to Samsung. Now M$ may pull an Apple and claim they shouldn't have to pay for standard essential cell phone patents.. But that argument becomes a double edged sword, since M$ patent licenses cover the standardized memory card file format(oopsey - standard essential ) . So what's good for the goose is good for gander so to speak..

      Samsung clearly and right fully, thinks

      • by Karlt1 (231423) on Saturday August 02, 2014 @08:06AM (#47588333)

        But that argument becomes a double edged sword, since M$ patent licenses cover the standardized memory card file format(oopsey - standard essential ) . So what's good for the goose is good for gander so to speak..

        "Standard essential" is not Just some arbitrary term that judges slap on a patent. The patent holder decides to agree to license their patent under FRAND in exchange for being a part of the standard. MS never tried to become part of a standard or did they agree to license the particular patent under FRAND.

        • by FirstOne (193462)

          Some are FRAND and some are not.. A number of M$ patents have expired [dailytech.com], ergo Samsung's position is much stronger now. Additionally, M$ transferred a large number of patents [tomsguide.com] to a 3rd party, so they don't have nearly as much to offer in a cross license agreement.

          • It doesn't matter whether some MS patents have expired. According to the summary "Samsung voluntarily entered into a legally binding contract with Microsoft in a cross-licensing agreement".

            Do you really think that Samsung's lawyers were incompetent enough to sign a contract that extended beyond the patent terms?

  • by maroberts (15852) on Friday August 01, 2014 @05:15PM (#47585393) Homepage Journal

    A number of factors could have changed since 2011, apart from the possibility of patents expiring.

    Samsung could have had a cross licensing agreement with Nokia, meaning Microsoft was getting paid twice. Also the US IP law has become more hostile to abstract patents, which probably form the bulk of Microsofts patent portfolio. Ironically Microsoft has probably picked up a bunch of Nokia patents, which may be much more useful in a patent slinging fight.

    • AFAIK microsoft did not get any nokia patents with the buyout. As such nokia has left the market and samsung can no longer cross license with nokia, instead have to pay them and have to rethink their spending on frivolous microsoft patents.

      In my opinion, keeping patents secret while saying someone is infridging one should be sued for libel or similar. If a company wants royalties from patents, they should say how much and from which patents. For a long time companies just say "they are infridging" and do no

      • by maroberts (15852)

        A quick Google reveals Microsoft got 8,500 design patents and a license to 30,000 (!) utility patents

  • Not much can be known about it at this time.
    That means we'll all have to go by our hunches and reflexes, and totally tear apart Microsoft.

  • by Etherwalk (681268) on Friday August 01, 2014 @10:20PM (#47587105)

    "Samsung voluntarily entered into a legally binding contract..."

    As opposed to what, being forced to sign under threat of listening to executive Karaoke?

    • There are plenty of cases where a contract is unenforceable and therefore not legally binding. http://www.nolo.com/legal-ency... [nolo.com]

      ~~
      • by Anonymous Coward

        No, that is a legally binding contract where a valid defense renders the defendant able to partially or completely ignore the agreement. The FORMATION is what creates the valid presumption of binding.

        From your article on NOLO:
        " But it's possible for an otherwise valid contract to be found unenforceable in the eyes of the law"

        In other words, it is possible for a legally binding contract formed in a perfectly correct way, to be unenforceable due to defenses to the performance of the contract. For example, d

  • Thats exactly what I do.

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