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Microsoft’s private Android patents revealed by the Chinese government


For the past few years, Microsoft has been licensing several of its patents with Android device makers. These agreements reportedly generate around $1 to $2 billion in revenue for the company. The software maker estimates that it has active licensing deals that cover around 70 percent of the Android devices in the US. So far, the company has never outlined what patents are being infringed on by Android, but a recent investigation by China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has uncovered a stockpile of patents and filings held by Microsoft while reviewing the company’s acquisition of Nokia.

Among this group of filings are 127 patents that Microsoft says are implemented in Google’s mobile operating system. Some of the intellectual properties in question were acquired by the Rockstar consortium last year that attempted to pick up patents from Nortel. Also in this lengthy list are patents like “customer local search” and “loading status in a hypermedia browser having a limited available display area.” Historically, the software maker has tried to keep its patent portfolio under wraps and has been criticized for its licensing practices. A few years back, Barnes & Noble made an appeal to the US Department of Justice saying that Microsoft stifled development of Android devices from smaller companies by using hefty licensing fees and lawsuits.

For a complete look at the Chinese Ministry of Commerce’s finding’s, check out its complete 20 page document of the patents in question.

(via Ars Technica)

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