Litigation gets more publicity than licensing. It's bigger news if products are banned, or if someone is at least trying to get them banned, or if juries award damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars (or even in excess of a billion dollars). But licensing is how almost all intellectual property disputes are resolved, and how countless lawsuits are avoided in the first place.
Most Android and Chrome device makers understand that Google wrote most of the code, but did not do most of the pioneering work behind it. It implemented vast amounts of technology created and owned by others. Android has drawn and continues to attract more litigation than any other platform. At the same time its infringement issues give rise to a steadily-growing number of third-party patent license agreements.
Yesterday Microsoft announced a royalty-bearing license deal relating to certain Nikon cameras running Android. On this occasion I wanted to update my list of Android-related patent license agreements that have been announced (there may be others in place that no one ever talked about):
April 27, 2010: Microsoft Announces Patent Agreement With HTC
June 27, 2011: Microsoft and General Dynamics Itronix Sign Patent Agreement ("Agreement will cover General Dynamics Itronix devices running the Android platform.") (FOSS Patents coverage)
September 28, 2011: Microsoft and Samsung Broaden Smartphone Partnership ("Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will receive royalties for Samsung's mobile phones and tablets running the Android mobile platform.") (FOSS Patents coverage)
April 30, 2012: Barnes & Noble and Microsoft Form Strategic Partnership to Advance World-Class Digital Reading Experiences for Consumers" ("Barnes & Noble and Microsoft have settled their patent litigation, and moving forward, Barnes & Noble and Newco will have a royalty-bearing license under Microsoft's patents for its NOOK eReader and Tablet products.") (FOSS Patents coverage)
November 7, 2012: Microsoft Signs Licensing Agreements for exFAT With Sharp, Sigma, NextoDi, Black Magic and Atomos Global ("The agreements cover Sharp Android tablets, Sigma and NextoDi high-end cameras and accessories, and Black Magic and Atomos Global broadcast-quality video-recording devices.")
- December 11, 2012: Microsoft and Hoeft & Wessel AG Sign Patent Agreement ("Agreement will cover Hoeft & Wessel devices running the Android platform.") (FOSS Patents coverage)
February 21, 2013: Microsoft and Nikon Sign Android Patent Agreement ("Agreement covers certain Nikon cameras running the Android platform.")
This list will grow considerably. At some point, even Google's Motorola Mobility will end up paying.
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