Back in November of last year we reported on claim that suggested Microsoft makes as much as $2 billion a year off of patent agreements it holds over roughly 70% of the Android phones sold in the United States, thanks to partnerships signed with nearly every major Android OEM.
So what are these patent agreements actually about? Honestly, we really don’t know. Though we’ve heard thing about FAT partitions, microSD and the like — there’s never been a public master list of Microsoft Android patents, at least not until today.
One thing all these patents seem to have in common? They are all vaguely worded
It seems that China’s Ministry of Commerce has now published a list of 310 patents that Microsoft collects royalties from. The list was apparently produced as part of the interactions Microsoft had with China during the approval process for the purchase of Nokia’s devices/services division.
Out of the 310 patents, 73 of them are standard-essential and 127 patents are supposedly implemented in Android. While Microsoft has had some of these patents for a long time, others were acquired through the Rockstar Consortium. Obviously it would take forever to list all the types of patents that Android allegedly imposes upon but here’s a sample of just a few: “Data Format for Multimedia Object Storage, Retrieval and Transfer”, “ Synchronization Over a Number of Synchronization Mechanisms Using Flexible Rules”, “System and Method for Consolidating Television Rating System” and “Generating Meeting Requests and Group Scheduling from a Mobile Device”.
One thing all these patents seem to have in common? They are all vaguely worded, making it easy for a lawyer to twist them to cover just about anything Microsoft wants them to cover. This is just a brief highlight of what’s wrong with our patent system, you can essentially string together a number of words and call it a patent.
For a complete list of patents that Microsoft collects on, you can download a word doc from China’s Ministry of Commerce.