While Microsoft has gone to great lengths to keep its Android phone patents locked away from the public, in an unprecedented move, the Chinese government has now published a list containing hundreds of Microsoft Android patents online.
With its detailed descriptions of 310 patents, the list is believed to include all of Microsoft’s patents for the 900 million Android devices in service today.
The information was put together as part of the Chinese government’s antitrust review for Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia. Following its investigation, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) concluded that “Microsoft holds approximately 200 patent families that are necessary to build an Android smartphone”, said Microsoft in a blog post on April 8.
Around a quarter (73) of the patents released are called standard-essential patents (SEP) for smartphones while another 127 patents are believed to be those implemented in Android devices, for which the manufacturer receives royalties.
It is understood that Microsoft takes in from $1 billion to $2 billion in royalties from Android device manufacturers. The company has previously stated that as much as 50 per cent of all Android devices are produced by manufacturers with patent licensing deals.
Microsoft is directly all media enquiries to the previously mentioned April 8 statement on its dealings with MOFCOM.