Microsoft seals eighteenth Android licensing deal
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Microsoft seals eighteenth Android licensing deal


Microsoft has struck its eighteenth licensing agreement with an Android device maker - this time with Nikon for cameras running the Android platform

Since launching its IP licensing programme in December 2003, Microsoft has entered into more than 1,100 licensing agreements. The company has been criticised by Google for embarking upon an “organized campaign…waged through bogus patents” against Android.

Some have said that Microsoft’s aggressive licensing strategy with Windows phone partners like HTC is just a clever way of threatening Google.

But Microsoft has been adamant that its licensing programme goes both ways, with the company having paid out more than $4.5 billion as of 2011 to license in patents. Microsoft general counsel and executive vice president of legal and corporate affairs, Brad Smith, said in a blog post yesterday that “a well-functioning secondary market in patents fosters innovation by enabling companies to access the IP they need to bring new products and services to market, while at the same time fairly compensating inventors and

Nikon products affected by the licensing deal with Microsoft include the Nikon Coolpix S800C.
preserving incentives for further innovation”.

Smith added, in a subtle reference to the global battle over smartphone technology, that licensing agreements “between responsible companies” help to avoid “conflicts that can disrupt the dissemination of technology and distribution of products”.

Smith’s blog post recapped his day on Capitol Hill discussing the need for additional US patent reforms. Microsoft is interested in reforms related to increasing transparency, curbing litigation abuse, and improving patent quality.

As part of the transparency effort, Smith said Microsoft will publish information on its website by April 1 that will allow anyone to find out which patents Microsoft owns. The company would also like to see mandatory disclosure of the so-called real party in interest on patents, rather than just assignees or agents.

Other reforms Microsoft is pushing for include a so-called loser pays system of litigation for patent cases, an end to injunctions on standard-essential patents and concrete steps toward patent quality.

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