Microsoft Licenses Smartphone Patents From Litigious Acacia
Acacia Research has filed some 337 patent-related lawsuits over the past 18 years, none of them–as best I can tell–against Microsoft. Presumably, that will continue to be the case now that Redmond has licensed 74 “foundational” smartphone patents from the company, many of which originated at Palm and its former subsidiary, PalmSource.
It’s not clear why Microsoft (MSFT) inked such a licensing deal. But it’s worth noting that at least a few of the patents included are cited in a lawsuit Acacia (ACTG) filed earlier this year against Apple (AAPL), Research In Motion (RIMM), Motorola (MOT) and a bunch of other smartphone makers.
Now, Microsoft wasn’t named in that suit. But it is launching a brand new mobile OS on Monday, which makes the timing of this Acacia deal interesting. At the very least, it makes you wonder if Acacia, which is often decried as a patent troll, has been threatening to add Microsoft’s name to the infringer list.