The details of the licence, announced Tuesday, have not been disclosed save for this statement from Microsoft's vice president and head of IP and Licensing, Horacio Gutierrez who stated that:
“HTC and Microsoft have a long history of technical and commercial collaboration, and today’s agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercial arrangements that address intellectual property. We are pleased to continue our collaboration with HTC.”The long historical relationship referred to is that of HTC being one of the main producers of smartphones that run the Windows operating system.
If you, like the IPKat, are confused as to who owns what in these phones you are not alone. Gutierrez (left) writing in his blog last March stated that with all innovation, especially for inventions in nascent technology markets, there is a period of time where rights holders grapple and litigate in order to sort out who owns what. He said:
"The smartphone market is still in a nascent state; much innovation still lies ahead in this field. In all nascent technology markets, there is a period early where IP rights will be sorted out. This is particularly true in a market, such as smartphones, in which a number of different technologies previously offered on a standalone basis now converge into a single device. Indeed, smartphones are a product of the ‘open innovation’ paradigm – device manufacturers do not do all of their development in-house, but add their own innovations to those of others to create a product that users want. Open innovation is only possible through the licensing of third party IP rights, which ensures that those who develop the building blocks that make a new technology possible are properly compensated for their investments in research and development."
How will Microsoft and HTC's licensing agreement impact Apple's court and ITC complaints that claim HTC infringes 20 of Apple's patents in their Android phones? The blog-o-sphere is lighting up with conspiracy theories as to what has motivated the license deal. Some say that Microsoft believed that the Android technology infringed their patents, while others say that Microsoft is coming to the rescue of the patent-poor HTC in their battle against the Apple empire. This Kat believes the truth may lie somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
Although the Android operating system is proving to be very popular in the market right now, if the IPKat was a mobile phone manufacturer she would not be raising her head above the parapet until the mess of IP ownership over this technology is untangled.
Today, HTC has introduced a new handset named the Incredible, based on Google's Android operating system.For more information see these articles in the Financial Times, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Wall Street Journal and CNET.