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Microsoft granted permission to proceed against Samsung

Microsoft has been granted permission to proceed with a case to recover patent royalties interest worth almost $7 million [£4.4 million] after a New York judge threw out Samsung's motion to stay the case in the state while it pursues arbitration in Hong Kong.

US District Judge Jed Rakoff of New York ruled that the lawsuit taken out by Microsoft to recover $6.9 million [£4.3 million] in interest on unpaid patent royalties will proceed despite the arbitration.

Rakoff added that he would explain why the decision has been made in a subsequent opinion and it all stems from a court case brought forward by Microsoft in August relating to over $1 billion [£625 million] in unpaid patent royalties.

In light of Rakoff’s ruling, a Microsoft spokesperson told Reuters the company is "pleased that the court agrees that New York is the appropriate venue for this dispute."

Court documents unsealed back then accused Samsung of refusing to pay the $6.9 million [£4.3 million] worth of interest on a late royalty payment. In a counter complaint, the South Korean company fought claims the 2013 acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services arm broke the terms of the contract before the late payment was made and therefore it shouldn't have to pay.

That filing showed that in addition to paying royalties to Microsoft for a patent license covering Android smartphones, Samsung had an agreement to share information and develop Windows phones. It’s this part that became invalid once Microsoft acquired Nokia because the two became direct hardware competitors and Samsung expressed antitrust concerns.

Samsung’s wrangling with Microsoft follows countless battles against Apple over the start of this decade involving various claims by both sides relating to the design of devices that have infringed patents. Whether the New York court’s decision to rule in favour of Microsoft now kicks off an appeal by Samsung remains to be seen.

Image Credit: Flickr (John Karakatsanis)