Printed from http://www.electronista.com

Chinese officials let Microsoft's anti-Android patents out of the bag

updated 04:55 pm EDT, Tue June 17, 2014

Regulators reviewing Nokia deal find 310 patents Microsoft leverage against Android

After the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) approved Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's device and services business, Microsoft was found to have 200 patent families necessary to build Android phones. In the process of posting news on the merger approval, however, the MOFCOM posted a list of 310 Microsoft patents that Android could be infringing upon.

These patents have been used against Android device manufacturers, with only a small number revealed to the public. The MOFCOM had reviewed around 100 patents during the course of the review, according to Ars Technica. However, there are large implications other than just displaying a number of previously-unmentioned patents by the operating system developer.

When speaking to Business Insider last year, Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund said that Microsoft makes an estimated $2 billion a year through patent licensing to Android vendors. The uncovered listing is believed to contain all of the patents that Microsoft could use to leverage lucrative licensing deals from device makers using Android.

The review by MOFCOM sought the patent list as part of an inquiry to see if Microsoft could use them in an anti-competitive way. In a statement from the company in April regarding the approval, Microsoft "http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2014/04/08/chinese-ministry-of-commerce-approves-microsoft-nokia-deal.aspx">said the approval by MOFCOM "effectively adopts Microsoft's current patent-licensing practices."

The list of Microsoft-owned patents includes 73 standard-essential patients (SEP), and 127 non-SEP patents Microsoft claims are used in Android. Another section lists 68 patent applications and 42 awarded patents. Microsoft's SEPs mainly relate to networking and general use in smartphones. A few patents in the list were obtained as a result of the consortium purchase of Nortel patents in 2011.

With Microsoft touting more transparency with Internet Explorer and looking to change its public image, the news can be construed as as a step backwards. The company has been selective in which patents it uses in legal actions up to this point. Instead of throwing the lot of them at developers, Microsoft has only used a few at a time in court battles.

By having the MOFCOM post all of the patents that Microsoft could use against Android, manufacturers will have a better understanding of what they can and cannot do without a licensing agreement. Microsoft won't be able to keep their collection in the dark to use at their discretion anymore, but it should help ease some disputes over intellectual properties. It may speed along the transparency that Microsoft started in the system when it first posted a tracker for company-owned patents last year.

A MS Word file of the 310 patents can be found at the MOFCOM website.



By Electronista Staff
Post tools:

TAGS :

toggle

Comments

  1. aviamquepasa

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-22-11

    Incredible the difficulties that companies face when entering the phone market... Because of that, OS will be severely limited, and only big companies will be able to develop and pay patents for them.

  1. aviamquepasa

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-22-11

    Welcome to the march toward bigger and bigger companies.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.

toggle

Network Headlines

toggle

Most Popular

Sponsor

Recent Reviews

Dell AD211 Bluetooth speaker

For all of the high-priced, over-engineered Bluetooth speakers in the electronics market, there is still room for mass-market solution ...

VisionTek 128GB USB Pocket SSD

USB flash drives dealt the death blow to both the floppy and Zip drives. While still faster than either of the old removable media, sp ...

Kodak PixPro SL10 Smart Lens Camera

Smartphone imagery still widely varies. Large Megapixel counts don't make for a good image, and the optics in some devices are lacking ...

Sponsor

toggle

Most Commented

 
toggle

Popular News