Microsoft signs two new patent licensing deals covering Android, Chrome

A number of companies -- including Samsung and Barnes & Noble -- have signed up for Android licensing, but Google-owned Motorola Mobility still has not

Microsoft said Monday that two more companies had signed patent agreements covering their Android and Chrome devices, under the company's IP (intellectual property) licensing program that already has over 1,100 licensing agreements.

The software giant said it would earn royalty from the two deals but did not provide details.

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The agreement with Coby Electronics, a maker of Internet TVs, tablets, and other consumer electronics, provides broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for Coby's products running the Android or Chrome platform, while the patent agreement with Aluratek provides coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for Aluratek's e-readers and tablets running the Android or Chrome platform.

Microsoft said the program launched in December 2003 was developed to open access to Microsoft's research and development investments and its patent and IP portfolio, though some critics claim Microsoft views it as a revenue stream. A number of companies including Samsung have signed up for Microsoft's Android licensing program, but Motorola Mobility, now owned by Google, has not signed.

Microsoft claims Android infringes some of its patents, hence the requirement for these licensing agreements.

One holdout, Barnes & Noble, settled patent litigation with Microsoft over its Android-based Nook e-reader in April as part of a broader alliance with Microsoft. Barnes & Noble and a new subsidiary set up with Microsoft under the terms of the alliance will pay Microsoft royalties for its Nook and tablet products.

Motorola and Microsoft have legal disputes in a number of countries, including one over patent infringement by the Xbox before the U.S. International Trade Commission. A Munich court ruled in May that Motorola infringes on a Microsoft patent relating to SMS messaging.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's email address is john_ribeiro@idg.com.

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