Microsoft sues Samsung over cross-license deal

Dylan Bushell-Embling
05 Aug 2014

Microsoft is suing Samsung in the US, alleging violation of a contract compelling the companies to cross-license their patent portfolios.

Samsung is using Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia as an excuse to back out of its commitment to cross-license IP, Microsoft has alleged in the filing.

“After becoming the leading player in the worldwide smartphone market, Samsung decided late last year to stop complying with its agreement with Microsoft,” said Microsoft deputy general council David Howard in a blog post detailing the lawsuit.

“In September 2013, after Microsoft announced it was acquiring the Nokia Devices and Services business, Samsung began using the acquisition as an excuse to breach its contract. Curiously, Samsung did not ask the court to decide whether the Nokia acquisition invalidated its contract with Microsoft, likely because it knew its position was meritless.”

Microsoft has alleged that Samsung has already failed to make a royalty payment on time, and is threatening further breaches of the agreement.

As part of the suit, Microsoft is seeking damages and a court declaration that its acquisition of Nokia does not affect its agreement with Samsung.

While Microsoft has painted itself as the victim in this case, the lawsuit appears to be a ploy to ensure it keeps collecting royalties on Samsung's Android smartphone sales.

But Re/code's Ina Fried notes that should Microsoft lose the case, Samsung and even other Android handset makers could potentially be off the hook for future royalty payments to Microsoft.

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