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Does Android Infringe on Microsoft’s Patents?



Late yesterday, Microsoft publicly stated that Google’s mobile operating system, Android, infringes on Microsoft copyrights in everything from the UI to the OS itself. But they’re okay with that—as long as they get paid.

CNET reports on Microsoft’s accusations.:

In a statement to CNET, Microsoft deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez said that, although Microsoft prefers to resolve intellectual property licensing issues without resorting to lawsuits, it has a responsibility to make sure that “competitors do not free ride on our innovations.”

His comments came as Microsoft and HTC announced they have inked a new patent deal that specifically provides the Taiwanese cell phone maker with the right to use Microsoft’s patented technologies in phones running Google’s Android operating system. Microsoft said it has been in talks with other phone makers.

Microsoft will receive royalties from the deal for all phones HTC manufactures with the Android OS, including the Nexus One.

Some speculate the deal may actually help HTC in its defense against Apple’s patent infringement suit against the manufacturer. Google can’t be of my help since it doesn’t have as many patents to protect its products (yet?), so it would seem the best deal HTC could get is for Microsoft to not sue and the patent protection of the giant software company, plus getting in on Microsoft’s cross-licensing deal with Apple. No lawsuit? That’s something well worth paying for.

What do you think? Does Microsoft, Apple or HTC come out on top here?