Microsoft’s patent licensing machine is back in action, lining up another Android maker: this time, LG. The Korean manufacturer signed a patent agreement providing coverage for tablets, phones and other devices running the Android or Chrome OS. Details and financial arrangements of the agreement were not released although this is likely a royalty deal similar to others that Microsoft has established.
Microsoft said the LG deal is the 11th such patent agreement with an Android maker, covering 70 percent of the Android phones sold in the U.S. It previously inked IP agreements with big manufacturers such as HTC, Samsung and Acer. Microsoft said the latest pact builds upon an earlier cross-licensing agreement with LG and is just the latest example of Microsoft’s broad IP licensing program, which has secured more than 1,100 deals.
“We are proud of the continued success of our program in resolving the IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome OS,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate VP and deputy general counsel, for Microsoft’s Intellectual Property Group in a statement.
Microsoft has been waging a battle to get Android makers to pay up to get coverage against its patent portfolio. And it’s been largely successful, playing on manufacturers’ desire to resolve IP issues quickly rather than face expensive litigation. Two hold-outs — Barnes & Noble and Motorola — have resisted and will face Microsoft’s patent infringement claims in court. Motorola is in the process of being bought by Google which could bring Google into the Microsoft patent battle.
As we’ve written before, Microsoft stands to gain a lot with its Android licensing business, which could be worth $1 billion at some point. While Microsoft continues to wait for Windows Phone 7 to take off, it’s showing it has a lucrative Android business that just keeps growing.