On Friday, the Redmond-based global software giant Microsoft announced that it has brought South Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung to court over a contract dispute in their patent deal for Android devices. Microsoft, in very basic terms, has a contract with Samsung where it receives royalties for every Android device it sells, and it is suing Samsung because according to them, the latter has not been keeping its part of the contract.
According to Microsoft’s deputy general counsel David Howard, this legal action was done “simply to enforce our contract with Samsung.” In 2011, Microsoft signed one of those landmark Android patent deals, claiming that every Android device Samsung sells infringes on its patents, hence the royalties. As of late, Microsoft claims that Samsung has not been paying them the royalties they’ve agreed upon based on that 2011 contract, a situation that started last year – specifically after Microsoft’s Nokia acquisition.
What Microsoft is asking is actually for the court to enforce the contract as legal and binding, where Samsung has already made clear its disagreement to it. “After spending months trying to resolve our disagreement, Samsung has made clear in a series of letters and discussions that we have a fundamental disagreement as to the meaning of our contract,” Howard said.
Samsung has replied with a standard answer to the lawsuit, saying in a published statement: “We will review the complaint in detail and determine appropriate measures in response.” This patent contract has made Samsung – and many other Android device manufacturers – beholden to Microsoft, something that Google has vocally lambasted over the years. “This is the same tactic we’ve seen time and again from Microsoft,” Google said in a statement when the patent deal was signed in 2011. “Failing to succeed in the smartphone market, they are resorting to legal measures to extort profit from others’ achievements and hinder the pace of innovation.”