Over the course of the last few weeks, four royalty-bearing Android patent license agreements have been announced. Three of them settled pending litigation (Rockstar-Huawei, Ericsson-Samsung, Nokia-HTC). The latest one was entered into on an amicable basis between Microsoft and Voxx Electronics, a consumer electronics producer. The terms of the agreement are confidential except for the fact that it is royalty-bearing and provides Voxx with "broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for devices running the Android OS, including rear-seat entertainment devices, tablets and other consumer devices".
This makes Voxx the 21st announced Microsoft Android patent licensee. The Microsoft-Voxx agreement is the 26th Android-related royalty-bearing patent license agreement to have become known. 16 of those 21 Micosoft-Android deals (more than three-quarters) have occurred after the Google-Motorola Mobility merger agreement, a fact that proves no one in this industry believed Google was going to be able to secure a "free ride" for Android by cross-licensing Motorola Mobility's patents. Here's an updated list of all known deals:
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)
July 9, 2012: Microsoft and Coby Electronics Sign Patent Agreement Covering Android and Chrome Based Devices ("Although the contents of the agreement have not been disclosed, the parties indicate that Microsoft will receive royalties from Coby under the agreement.")
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)
April 16 (U.S.)/17 (Asia/Europe), 2013: Microsoft and Foxconn Parent Hon Hai Sign Patent Agreement For Android and Chrome Devices ("Agreement provides broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio to manufacturer of more than 40 percent of the world's consumer electronics.") (FOSS Patents coverage)
April 23 (U.S.)/24 (Asia/Europe), 2013: With ZTE, Most Major Android Makers Choose Licensing ("Under the agreement, Microsoft grants ZTE a license to Microsoft’s worldwide patent portfolio for ZTE phones, tablets, computers and other devices running Android and Chrome OS") (FOSS Patents coverage)
October 24, 2013: LG agrees to pay Vertical Computer Systems for another Android patent license (FOSS Patents coverage)
January 21, 2014: Huawei settles with Rockstar Consortium, will pay for Android's infringement of ex-Nortel patents (FOSS Patents coverage)
January 27, 2014: Ericsson and Samsung reach agreement on licensing terms (FOSS Patents coverage)
February 13, 2014: Microsoft and Voxx Electronics sign patent agreement for Android devices
This list is inevitably non-exhaustive: most deals are never announced. Also, one could make an argument that Intellectual Ventures' license agreements with the likes of Samsung and HTC should be added to the list. IV is claiming in its dispute with Motorola Mobility (where a mistrial lately occurred in Delaware, but that's not the end of the story) that Android infringes some of its countless patents. It's rather conservative not to list those IV deals here, but the moment IV proves any infringement of an Android patent in court or announces a license deal that involves Android or settles litigation that targets Android, I'll add those deals to the list.
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