Microsoft has laid claim to aspects of Google's Android operating system, signing a patent deal with cellphone maker HTC.
The agreement covers HTC’s mobile phones running the Android mobile platform, and will see Microsoft receiving royalties from HTC.
"HTC and Microsoft have a long history of technical and commercial collaboration, and today’s agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercial arrangements that address intellectual property," said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft.
"We are pleased to continue our collaboration with HTC."
While dozens of companies have agreed to pay Microsoft royalties for Linux products, this is believed to be Microsoft's first patent deal covering Android, which is based on Linux. Microsoft isn't saying which elements of Android it believes infringe its patents.
Last month, Apple announced that it was suing HTC over 20-odd patents relating to the iPhone which it says are infringed by HTC's Android and Windows Mobile phones.
The deal with Microsoft could protect HTC from Apple, as Microsoft already has a cross-licensing deal with Apple for Windows Phone devices.