Microsoft Corp and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd signed a global patent licensing agreement on Wednesday designed to protect Hon Hai clients from patent claims arising from their use of Google Inc's Android and Chrome operating systems.
Google and Microsoft have been locked in patent battles, with Microsoft contending that the systems infringe its software patents. Microsoft has in the past chosen to pursue hardware makers rather than Google itself for royalties.
"Foxconn's clients don't need to worry about infringing Microsoft's patents anymore, because Foxconn has signed the agreement for them," said Vincent Shih, chief legal officer of Microsoft Taiwan Corp. Hon Hai is the flagship listed entity of Foxconn Technology Group.
Shih said more than 50 percent of the global contract makers that manufacture Android devices, including Hon Hai's local peers, Pegatron Corp, Quanta Computer Inc, Compal Electronics Inc and Wistron Corp, have signed similar agreements with Microsoft.
Technology companies are increasingly defending their turf in the courts, seeking penalties for alleged patent and trademark infringements and injunctions to stop product sales.
One well-known example is the ongoing legal war between Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd that has taken place in 10 countries as they battle for market share.
Brand name companies such as Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, HTC Corp, Acer have also settled with Microsoft over their use of Android, but Motorola Mobility, which Google bought last year, is fighting a range of patent issues with Microsoft in courts in the United States and Germany.
Hon Hai spokeswoman Laura Liu said the company is also in talks with other software companies on different patent agreements.
Hon Hai is Apple's largest manufacturing partner. The group also makes products for Nokia, Dell Inc, Sony Corp, among others.