News

Microsoft Pays Smartphone Patent Royalties to Access Co

Microsoft paid royalties on smartphone patents held by Access Co. Ltd., according to an announcement issued on Thursday.

The patents involved weren't disclosed. The news came via a jointly issued press release from Tokyo-based Access Co. Ltd. and Newport Beach, Calif.-based Acacia Research Corp. It's not clear why Acacia Research was involved in the settlement since the patents were held by Access. However, Acacia specializes in partnering with inventors and patent holders and licensing those technologies to corporations.

Some of the patented technologies were originally devised by other companies, including "Palm, Palmsource, Bell Communications Research and Geoworks," according to the announcement. Apparently, HP, which announced the acquisition of Palm Inc. in April, doesn't hold the patent that was licensed. An HP spokesperson explained that "when Palm spun off PalmSource the patent portfolio was split up as well. ACCESS eventually bought what was left of PalmSource, including the patents it held."

Microsoft confirmed on Friday that it had paid the royalties.

"By focusing on efficiently licensing patented innovations from other companies, we're free to develop great software and we're able to provide our partners and customers IP peace-of-mind," stated David Kaefer, general manager of intellectual property and licensing at Microsoft, in a prepared statement.

Microsoft settled a patent dispute in April with its partner HTC, which makes mobile devices. This month, Microsoft announced that it is suing Motorola over patents allegedly used by the Android Linux-based mobile operating system. The Motorola dispute mirrors Microsoft's claims in the HTC lawsuit, which also targeted Android.

Mobile litigation and settlements have seemingly hit a fever pitch as Microsoft prepares for an unveiling of Windows Phone 7-based devices on Oct. 11. Horatio Gutierrez, Microsoft's corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of intellectual property and licensing, has indicated in statements that mobile lawsuits have moved beyond disputes over the radio component, especially as smartphones have begun to take on the functionality of PCs.

Still, the litigation hasn't always trended in Microsoft's favor. Microsoft's court losses to Toronto-based i4i led Microsoft to argue that the standards for disproving patents are too high. In that case, Microsoft disputed i4i's patent on "custom XML" technology, which was found to have been used in Microsoft Word.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

Featured

  • What Money in Excel Means for the Future of Microsoft 365 Apps

    Microsoft's new personal finance tool hints at what's in store for next-generation Office applications, from more third-party integrations to subscription requirements.

  • Microsoft Buys Orions Systems To Enhance Vision AI Capabilities in Dynamics 365

    Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it has acquired Orions Systems with the aim of enhancing Dynamics 365 capabilities, as well as the Microsoft Power Platform.

  • Microsoft Hires Movial To Build Android OS for Microsoft Devices

    Microsoft has hired the Romanian operations of software engineering and design services company Movial to develop an Android-based operating system solution for the Microsoft Devices business segment.

  • Microsoft Ending Workflows for SharePoint 2010 Online Next Month

    Microsoft on Monday gave notice that it will be ending support this year for the "workflows" component of SharePoint 2010 Online, as well as deprecating that component for SharePoint 2013 Online.

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.