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samsung_galaxy_s5_1Microsoft today filed a suit against Samsung in federal court in New York, alleging that the dominant maker of Android phones is trying to back out of an agreement to pay patent royalties to Microsoft covering its use of Android technologies.

“We don’t take lightly filing a legal action, especially against a company with which we’ve enjoyed a long and productive partnership. Unfortunately, even partners sometimes disagree,” said David Howard, Microsoft deputy general counsel, in a post about the suit. “After spending months trying to resolve our disagreement, Samsung has made clear in a series of letters and discussions that we have a fundamental disagreement as to the meaning of our contract.”

Howard says in the post that Samsung is using Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s smartphone business “as an excuse to breach its contract.” 

We’ve contacted Samsung for comment and will update this post if the company issues a statement.

Microsoft’s complaint seeks a declaratory judgment stating that the patent agreement is still valid, in addition to interest from a past seven-week delay of Samsung’s scheduled patent royalty payment.

Microsoft has struck a series of royalty deals with Android device makers, based on its assertion that the mobile operating system violates Microsoft patents. Microsoft’s overall annual revenue from Android has been estimated at $2 billion annually.

Update: Here’s a copy of the complaint, with some details redacted by Microsoft.

Microsoft vs. Samsung by Todd Bishop

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