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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

February 9, 2015 at 4:52 PM

Microsoft, Samsung settle Android patent fee dispute

Microsoft and Samsung won’t duke it out in court after all.

The two technology giants on Monday say they settled a 6-month-old court battle concerning fees Samsung owed Microsoft for manufacturing phones running the Android  mobile operating system.

“Samsung and Microsoft are pleased to announce that they have ended their contract dispute in U.S. court” as well as related arbitration overseen by the International Chamber of Commerce, Microsoft Deputy General Counsel David Howard and Samsung Executive Vice President Jaewan Chi said in a brief statement on Microsoft’s website.

They didn’t detail the terms of the agreement. Representatives of both companies declined to comment beyond the statement.

Though Android is open-source software built by Google, Microsoft contends that it holds patents to some of the technology underlying the operating system. Samsung is among the companies that agreed in recent years to pay Microsoft royalties for the Android-powered tablets and smartphones it sells.

In the second year of that agreement, Microsoft says, the payments totaled $1 billion. In August, Microsoft sued Samsung, arguing that the South Korean company was late with that payment and, when it did pay, didn’t include $6.9 million in interest. At the time, Microsoft’s Howard said Samsung was using Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s phone unit as a reason to breach the contract.

Samsung responded that U.S. federal court was an inappropriate place to litigate the issue, pointing to contract terms it said called for disputes to be settled by arbitration overseen by the International Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Samsung disclosed in court proceedings that it had initiated arbitration proceedings against Microsoft with the ICC in Hong Kong.

The trial was set to begin in Manhattan this month. By settling the dispute beforehand, both companies avoid further public airing of what had been a confidential agreement. Preliminary court documents filed to date already give corporate competitors and the public alike a rare view into the relationship between the two tech giants, their mobile device businesses and intellectual property agreements.

Comments | More in | Topics: android, google, microsoft

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