Microsoft has insisted for years that companies building products based on Android and Chrome are treading on ground covered by its patent portfolio, and it's continuing to press that claim. Today it announced it's agreed to IP licensing terms with another device maker -- Foxconn parent Hon Hai. Perhaps best known for making many Apple products, the massive company manufactures more than 40 percent of consumer electronics devices in the world. According to the press release the deal covers patents for phones, tablets and TVs, and will result in Microsoft receiving royalty payments. We've already seen companies like HTC and LG choose to cut a deal over the technology, while Google-owned Motorola is continuing to fight. It's far too soon to know how those court battles will be resolved, but while the team in Redmond may not have caught up to Android in mobile market share, that doesn't mean it's not getting paid.
Microsoft and Foxconn Parent Hon Hai Sign Patent Agreement For Android and Chrome Devices
April 16, 2013
Agreement provides broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio to manufacturer of more than 40 percent of the world's consumer electronics.
REDMOND, Wash. - April 16, 2013 - Microsoft Corp. and Hon Hai, the parent company of Foxconn, signed a worldwide patent licensing agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for devices running the Android and Chrome OS, including smartphones, tablets and televisions. While the contents of the agreement are confidential, the parties indicate that Microsoft will receive royalties from Hon Hai under the agreement. Hon Hai joins a growing list of contract manufacturing and original design manufacturing companies with Android and Chrome patent licenses.
"We are pleased that the list of companies benefitting from Microsoft's Android licensing program now includes the world's largest contract manufacturer, Hon Hai," said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of the Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. "By licensing both brand name companies and their contract manufacturers, we have successfully increased the overall effectiveness and global reach of the program."
"Hon Hai is the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer that holds more than 54,000 patents worldwide," said Samuel Fu, director of the Intellectual Property Department at Hon Hai. "We recognize and respect the importance of international efforts that seek to protect intellectual property. The licensing agreement with Microsoft represents those efforts and our continued support of international trade agreements that facilitate implementation of effective patent protection."
Microsoft's Commitment to Licensing Intellectual Property
The patent agreement is another example of the important role intellectual property (IP) plays in ensuring a healthy and vibrant technology ecosystem. Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 1,100 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that open Microsoft's IP portfolio for customers, partners and competitors. The program was developed to provide access to Microsoft's significant R&D investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio. Microsoft's specific patent licensing program for Android device makers has resulted in signed license agreements with numerous companies including Samsung, LG, HTC, Acer and Barnes & Noble.
More information about Microsoft's licensing programs is available at http://www.microsoft.com/iplicensing.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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