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Microsoft sues Samsung for breaking IP agreement

Microsoft has filed legal action against Samsung in the Southern District of New York for not complying with an IP cross-licensing agreement

“We don’t take lightly filing a legal action, especially against a company with which we’ve enjoyed a long and productive partnership,” explained David Howard, corporate vice-president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft, in a blog post. “Unfortunately, even partners sometimes disagree. After spending months trying to resolve our disagreement, Samsung has made clear in a series of letters and discussions that we have a fundamental disagreement as to the meaning of our contract.”

In 2011, Samsung entered into a legally binding contract with Microsoft to cross-license IP. Since then Samsung’s smartphone sales have quadrupled and it is now the leading worldwide player in the smartphone market. In 2011 it shipped 82 million Android smartphones, three years later it shipped 314 million Android smartphones.

“After becoming the leading player in the worldwide smartphone market, Samsung decided late last year to stop complying with its agreement with Microsoft,” said Howard. “In September 2013, after Microsoft announced it was acquiring the Nokia Devices and Services business, Samsung began using the acquisition as an excuse to breach its contract. Curiously, Samsung did not ask the court to decide whether the Nokia acquisition invalidated its contract with Microsoft, likely because it knew its position was meritless.”

Howard said Microsoft and Samsung have a long history of collaboration. “We are simply asking the Court to settle our disagreement and we are confident the contract will be enforced,” he said.


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