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Microsoft signs patent deal with Hon Hai

Microsoft and Hon Hai have signed a global patent licensing agreement designed to protect Hon Hai clients from patent claims.

Google and Microsoft have been locked in patent battles, with Microsoft contending that the systems infringe its software patents.

Microsoft has in the past chosen to pursue hardware makers rather than Google itself for royalties.

Hon Hai is the flagship listed entity of Foxconn Technology Group.

"Foxconn's clients don't need to worry about infringing Microsoft's patents anymore, because Foxconn has signed the agreement for them," said Vincent Shih, chief legal officer of Microsoft Taiwan.

Shih said more than 50 per cent of the global contract makers that manufacture Android devices, including Hon Hai's local peers, Pegatron, Quanta Computer, Compal Electronics and Wistron, have signed similar agreements with Microsoft.

Technology companies are increasingly defending their turf in the courts, seeking penalties for alleged patent and trademark infringements and injunctions to stop product sales.

One well-known example is the ongoing legal war between Apple and Samsung that has taken place in 10 countries as they battle for market share.

Brand name companies such as Samsung, LG, HTC and Acer have also settled with Microsoft over their use of Android, but Motorola Mobility, which Google bought last year, is fighting a range of patent issues with Microsoft in courts in the United States and Germany.

Hon Hai spokeswoman Laura Liu said the company is also in talks with other software companies on different patent agreements.

Hon Hai is Apple's largest manufacturing partner. The group also makes products for Nokia, Dell and Sony among others.

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