China: Microsoft/Nokia merger reveals secretive IP licensing deals

While Microsoft generally keeps its patent licensing agreements tightly under wraps, China’s Ministry of Commerce offered a glimpse into the money the tech giant makes from those deals, particularly with rival Google.

MOFCOM reportedly published details of Microsoft’s licensing deals made with Google for Android smartphone devices, reporting 73 standard-essential patents that were reviewed by regulators. The information was published on its site in part of its review of Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Nokia’s handset operations, a $7.2 billion deal that concerned Chinese authorities over how it would affect Microsoft’s patent licensing agreements. Reports say MOFCOM examined the deal to determine whether the patents acquired through the Nokia purchase would encourage the companies to hike licensing fees.

MOFCOM approved of the merger last April.

In addition to the SEPs, MOFCOM reported 127 patents implemented in Android products that were developed by Microsoft. Reports say Microsoft acquired those patents through its involvement in the Rockstar Consortium, which also includes Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson and Sony, formed to negotiate licensing deals.

Reports did not indicate the financial details of Microsoft’s licensing deals, but analysts late last year calculated the company was earning up to $2 billion through those agreements.

Full content: ZDNet

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