Science and Tech


Microsoft Sues Samsung For Skipping Payment On Patent Deal

Samsung is headed to court again — this time with Microsoft, which wants Samsung to honor a 2011 patent licensing deal.
Posted at 9:45 AM, Aug 02, 2014

Samsung is gearing up for another phone lawsuit. 

But it’s not with who you might expect. Apple has been fighting Samsung over patents for three years — but this new suit was filed by Samsung’s erstwhile partner Microsoft.

The two companies signed an intellectual property agreement in 2011, in which Samsung pays Microsoft an undisclosed amount for certain bits of also-undisclosed Microsoft patents used in its phones.

Samsung stopped making those payments when Microsoft acquired Finnish phonemaker Nokia — The Verge says according to Samsung, “Redmond acquiring its own handset business invalidated the cross-license IP agreement.”

Now, Microsoft wants a judge to hold Samsung to its end of the bargain — not least because Microsoft makes good money from the arrangement. The New York Times explains: (Via U.S. District Court)

"While the terms of the deal are confidential, royalty payments by licensees like Samsung typically go up as sales increase."

“Since Samsung entered into the agreement, its smartphone sales have quadrupled and it is now the leading worldwide player in the smartphone market,” says Microsoft in a blog post on the issue. “Samsung predicted it would be successful, but no one imagined their Android smartphone sales would increase this much.”

So there’s implicit suggestion Samsung just doesn’t way to pay out Microsoft’s fees as its gets more popular. DailyTech theorizes this could be Samsung’s complicated way of negotiating a more beneficial contract — by forcing the issue in court.

Tech watchers seem to be content to break out the popcorn in the meantime: Softpedia expects the loser will appeal, whenever a judge finally hands down a decision.

Samsung, for its part, told outlets it’s “reviewing [Microsoft’s] complaint in detail” to determine how it wants to respond.