Samsung hands cash to Microsoft for patent protection

The mobile patent landscape has seen an all too rare peaceful move with a cross licensing agreement signed between Microsoft and Samsung.

Microsoft made the announcement that the two firms would give access to patent portfolios to give coverage of each other’s products.

This means that Samsung will get some much needed patent back up for its Android operating system using smartphones.

With Google recently shelling out a rather large sum of money to shore up its defences with the Motorola acquisition it is clear that many mobile players are worried about Android’s susceptibility to lawsuits.

And Samsung has had to make some sacrifices for the safety of being taken under Microsoft’s wing.  As well as promising to help promote and develop Windows Phones, Samsung is going to have to hand over royalties for every Android phone it sells in recompense for its patent protection. 

According to Florian Mueller, patent expert at FOSSPatents, the deal struck between Samsung and Microsoft is a further blow to a battered Android.

“The deal shows Samsung’s recognition of Android patent problems and that it needs a licensing agreement to protect it,” Mueller told TechEye.  “This time it has avoided a patent dispute, which usually end in a cross-licensing deal anyway, by signing the agreement with Microsoft.

“Ultimately the end game will be licensing for major players, but these will be varied between different companies, with some ensuring more restrictions are in place for others. For example Apple is unlike to give full access once its dispute is eventually resolved.”

For Microsoft the benefits extend further than just a few quid in its pocket.   The licensing deal further adds to the situation where Android essentially comes with a premium, meaning Microsoft gets one over on its rival.

“Licensing royal deals means that Android is losing competitive advantages.  Google has said that Android is free to use, but OEMs are forced to protect themselves by looking after patents themselves.  This makes Windows Phone, which charges fees, a lot more attractive.”