Microsoft hauls Kyocera to court in latest Android suit

In the latest installment of the patent wars, Microsoft is suing Kyocera over allegedly violating patents relating to everything from battery life to text messaging.

Ted S. Warren
File - The Microsoft Corp. logo outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Wash.

Someone always seems to be suing someone in the tech industry. This time Microsoft­ is stepping up to the bench.

On Friday, the tech giant filed a lawsuit against Kyocera in a Seattle US District Court, alleging that three of the Japanese electronics company’s Android-based smart phones infringe on Microsoft’s patents.

Microsoft says that seven of its patents were violated and is asking the court for financial damages, as well as an injunction against Kyocera’s infringing products. The suit specifically names the Duraforce, Hydro, and Brigadier smart phones.

“We respect Kyocera but we believe they need to license the patented technology they are using," says David Howard, a Microsoft corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, in a statement issued by the company. "We’re hopeful this case can be resolved amicably.”

According to the complaint, Kyocera’s devices are using aspects of the patents that involve power saving, battery life, accelerometer, location, motion sensing and more. This is the first time Microsoft has brought a company to a US court over these particular patents and is using the much loved “innovator” defense seen in tech court cases before.

“Although research and development comes at great cost and risk, Microsoft was founded on innovation, and the company continues to choose the path of the innovator,” says the complaint. “But others have a different approach, waiting for innovators like Microsoft to bear the expense of developing new technologies and then incorporating the most successful inventions into their own products – without permission and without paying for the privilege.”

This is Microsoft’s latest effort to collect royalties from Android devices in the so-called “the patent wars.” The company claims the patents owned by Google and used to operate the Android operating system infringe on it owns patents and has looked to collect from different devicemakers. Microsoft pulls in an estimated $2 billion a year from licensing agreements with different Android devices, a significantly higher sum than it makes with its Windows Phone operating system.

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