In 2011, Samsung signed a contract agreeing to pay Microsoft royalties for using the Linux-based Android mobile operating system in Samsung tablets and mobile phones. As part of the deal, Samsung also agreed to market Windows Phone devices and the two companies shared some patented technologies.

Now Microsoft is complaining that Samsung has "stopped complying with its agreement," according to a Friday announcement attributed to David Howard, Microsoft corporate vice president and deputy general counsel. The announcement of the lawsuit heavily implied that Samsung stopped complying with the 2011 contract after Microsoft announced the acquisition of rival device maker Nokia last September. Moreover, Howard contended that Samsung is resisting now because it currently makes more money from its Android-based devices than it did when it inked the deal back in 2011.

Why do the manufacturers using an operating system have to pay patent royalties based on the operating system?

Shouldn't Google be the one to pay, also why isn't Microsoft also suing Google? I thought it really strange and that it didn't make sense for a manufacturing company to pay for a generic operating system patent. Also, isn't there a 15 year expiry, meaning the patent should be invalid right now? It was from some years ago, so I was wondering what happened and if the patent still applies and the patent is also valid in other regions.

Even if they agreed to pay, if the patent is invalid, should Samsung really have to pay Microsoft?

  • 1
    Besides good answer, companies try to avoid lawsuits as they are very expensive and uncertain. Sometimes it's cheaper to comply to false claims for some time at least. Aug 29, 2022 at 21:17
  • Samsung doesn't use stock Android on their phones
    – Joe W
    Aug 30, 2022 at 1:06

2 Answers 2


First, just to be clear, this is an old story from 2014.

Second, Microsoft wasn't seeking payments for patents on the OS per se, but on the drivers for the chips that connect the cell phone to the cellular networks. In 2014 Microsoft bought Nokia. Part of Nokia's value was that it held a whole bunch of fundamental patents for cellular communications. Microsoft was suing Samsung on the basis of those patents. Samsung in turn claimed that Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia, and their attempt to charge for the Nokia patents violated the terms of a 2011 agreement between Samsung and Microsoft.

Samsung and Microsoft settled the dispute in 2015. The terms of the settlement were confidential.

Microsoft and Google did wage a separate patent battle in the courts of the US and Germany. This was also settled in 2015.

This is all water under the bridge now. In 2018 Microsoft joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), a consortium of companies that agreed to license their patent portfolios to Linux royalty-free, and agree not to assert their patents against Linux systems.


Hypothetically, if you were a company selling phones with Google’s Android OS, and i claimed to have a patent that Google is using without a license, I could sue Google or you or both.

You may have no idea about that patent. So you could offer me a (smallish) license fee for a license, assuming that it is cheaper than going to court, especially when you don’t know about the merits of my case.

Of course the manufacturer doesn’t have to pay, they can risk a lawsuit instead.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .