The indomitable growth of the Android operating system has made it and Google’s OEM partners attractive legal targets. Last week, as part of a lawsuit aimed at “vindicat[ing] its rights” and “protect[ing] its substantial investment in research and development,” Microsoft asked a Seattle court to ban imports of Japan-based Kyocera’s DuraForce, Hydro, and Brigadier lines of smartphones.
Microsoft specifically alleges that Kyocera’s devices infringe on patents covering battery management, contextual awareness, texting, and multitasking. To redress grievances caused by the purported infringement, the company is seeking unspecified damages in a trial by jury.
“We respect Kyocera but we believe they need to license the patented technology they are using. We’re hopeful this case can be resolved amicably,” Microsoft deputy general counsel David Howard told Reuters.
Microsoft isn’t exactly new to the Android patent litigation game. It’s sued Barnes & Noble, HTC, and Motorola Mobility, among others, typically seeking resolution through lucrative patent licensing agreements. The lawsuits netted Microsoft $3.4 billion in 2013 alone, but haven’t been without road bumps. Last month, the company was forced to resolve a dispute with Samsung over the terms of its 2014 Nokia acquisition.
Ultimately, Microsoft’s efforts are a smaller part of its widely publicized legal war against Android. The Rockstar Consortium, a patent-holding group backed by Apple, Blackberry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony, leveled a number of lawsuits against Android device makers before its informal disbanding last December. Independently of Rockstar, Apple has pursued litigation against Motorola and Samsung, extracting $119 million from the latter as part of a judgement last summer.
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