Microsoft announced on Sunday that it has signed a patent agreement with Compal Electronics.
The deal will cover Compal under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for the company’s tablets, mobile phones, e-readers and other consumer devices running the Android or Chrome Platform. Microsoft will receive royalties from Compal under the agreement. Compal Electronics is a Taiwan-based manufacturer of notebook computers, monitors, and televisions. Compal’s customers include Dell, HP, Toshiba and others. The company is the second largest contract laptop manufacturer in the world, behind Quanta Computer who signed a similar deal with Microsoft earlier this month.
“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Compal, one of the leaders in the original design manufacturing, or ODM, industry. Together with the license agreements signed in the past few months with Wistron and Quanta Computer, today’s agreement with Compal means more than half of the world’s ODM industry for Android and Chrome devices is now under license to Microsoft’s patent portfolio,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. “We are proud of the continued success of our licensing program in resolving IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome.”
Microsoft’s latest deal marks the tenth license agreement under the company’s Android patent portfolio for mobile phones and tablets. It also means that over half of all Android device manufacturers have now entered into a patent deal with Microsoft. “Amidst continuing clamor about uncertainty and litigation relating to smartphone patents, we’re putting in place a series of agreements that are reasonable and fair to both sides,” explained Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith, in a blog post on Sunday. “Our agreements ensure respect and reasonable compensation for Microsoft’s inventions and patent portfolio.”
Microsoft has previously inked patent protection deals with Wistron, General Dynamics Itronix,Velocity Micro, Onkyo, Acer, Viewsonic, Quanta and Samsung. Microsoft is also chasing Motorola for a similar Android patent deal. Google announced in August that it plans to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. Google CEO Larry Page noted at the time of the deal announcement that Microsoft and Apple are “banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android.” Google hopes its move to purchase Motorola Mobility will better protect Android in the future. Microsoft kicked off its trial at the International Trade Commission (ITC) in late August by seeking to block imports of the Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq XT, Devour, Blackflip and Charm. Microsoft’s Motorola ITC case is ongoing and the administrative law judge, Theodore Essex, will release his initial findings in the case on November 4. The commission will complete its full investigation by March 5.