Samsung is petitioning a court to allow it to invalidate its contract with Microsoft, an agreement that it has only belatedly paid patent license fees on for the last year. A late Thursday court filing declares that once Microsoft acquired Nokia, it became a significant competitor with Samsung. The Korean manufacturer claims that the buy puts the two companies on equal footing in the smartphone market, and continuing the contract thus would induce some problems with US laws. Samsung pays royalties to Microsoft on patents it owns that are used in Android and other software.
Microsoft, for its part, is seeking that the court rule that the purchase of Nokia in no way violated any patent agreement, and is also seeking $6.9 million as interest on the year-two payment of $1 billion. Microsoft Deputy General Counsel David Howard said in a statement on Friday that "we are confident that our case is strong, and that we will be successful. At the same time, Microsoft values and respects our long partnership with Samsung, is committed to it, and expects it to continue."
The agreement, signed in 2011 to end a patent war between the two companies, works almost uniformly in Microsoft's favor and saw Samsung pay royalties both for allegedly using Microsoft patents in Android, as well as helping to develop and market Windows Phone hardware. Exact terms of the deal weren't discussed, but Google called the deal "extortion" though it has done nothing to fight the arrangement.
No ruling has been made on the court submission. Microsoft claims that Samsung still owes $6.9 million of interest that has accumulated on chronically-late payments. Samsung claims that "the agreements, now between competitors, invite charges of collusion."