Software patents have snowballed into giant wars in recent years, ending, changing and growing partnerships between various technology juggernauts. Signaling what could be the beginning of the end of this battle, details have emerged that Samsung and Microsoft have taken steps to restart their negotiations and discussions over the matter.
An industry official reportedly informed the Korea Times that the settlement is intended to be quickly resolved so that both companies are able to close the chapter on the disputes. As it stands, Samsung is under heavy pressure from Microsoft over royalty payments for approximately 300 patents used in Android. Just earlier this month, Microsoft took Samsung to court again claiming a breach-of-contract over the royalties they expected to receive from Samsung.
"The key point is that Microsoft wants to settle the lawsuit and it's no surprise to see that the two technology giants have resumed ‘working-level' discussions on how to dismiss lawsuits filed by Microsoft to a New York court," said the industry official to the Korea Times. Currently, Samsung pays a significant amount of money for the patents it uses. As part of the deal they are offering to Microsoft, Samsung is reportedly suggesting they may begin producing and promoting Windows or Windows Phone-based smart devices.
However, even though Microsoft has a giant war-chest of patents that they believe Android violates, one issue that Microsoft wasn't able to resolve is patents for certain types of wireless technology. Microsoft expected to secure such patents with their acquisition of Nokia, however it didn't work out as expected. As Lee Chang-hoon, a Korean patent attorney, mentions:
"While Microsoft acquired Nokia's handset division, the Finland-based Nokia was still passive to opening up its patents to the U.S. licensing giant. Because Microsoft failed to secure Nokia-owned patents, it will be very tough for Microsoft to produce handsets without Samsung-owned wireless patents. So it is likely that Samsung is asking Microsoft to renew contract terms. Microsoft is ready to accept the Samsung requests,"
This would also encourage Microsoft to quickly resolve their issues with Samsung, who would be able to provide the needed licensing. Either way, it is about time that these feuds are resolved.
Source: Korea Times