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Technology giants at odds in new lawsuit

Multiple business contracts are developed and signed every day around the nation. Florida companies negotiate and agree to terms relating to the sale of businesses, partnerships, fiduciary duties, intellectual property and more. Much of the time, these agreements are carried through without issue. Sometimes, however, a contract dispute will arise leaving one or both parties with no option but to pursue business litigation in an effort to seek resolution.

Samsung and Microsoft have been longtime business partners yet today are pitted against each other in a breach of contract lawsuit. The case hinges on the foreign-run Samsung’s decision not to continue with its original obligation to the Washington-based software giant after the latter bought Samsung’s competitor in the mobile phone industry, Nokia. According to reports, Samsung’s use of Microsoft-developed technology appeared to fuel dramatic growth in marketshare between 2011 and 2014.

A licensing agreement allows Samsung’s mobile phones to be built in part based upon intellectual property from Microsoft. It is unclear as to why Samsung determined that it no longer needed to make payments to Microsoft for that technology simply because of the Nokia acquisition. There have been no prior lawsuits between the companies, making this contract dispute the first to be taken to this level for these partners and technology leaders.

In the face of a serious corporate dispute, the world’s eyes may be watching to see not only how each company will far but also how or if the general industry and market will be affected. Business contracts by nature can be complex with many things that can result in sometimes surprising outcomes.

Source: Industry Week, “Microsoft Sues Samsung for Breach of Contract,” August  4, 2014

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