Microsoft sues Acacia over smartphone patents

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REUTERS - Microsoft Corp (NSQ:MSFT) filed a lawsuit against Acacia Research Corp (NSQ:ACTG) on Wednesday, charging that Acacia broke a contract to license various smartphone and mobile computing technologies to Microsoft.

The lawsuit, filed under seal in New York federal court, follows a number of patent infringement lawsuits brought by Acacia subsidiaries against Microsoft in October in Texas, Delaware and Illinois.

In 2010, Microsoft agreed to pay an Acacia subsidiary to license a portfolio of patents related to smartphones and tablets ultimately owned by Tokyo-based web browser firm Access Co.

In October, various Acacia subsidiaries filed lawsuits against Microsoft, charging that the software company had infringed more than a dozen patents.

Microsoft's lawsuit is a response to those actions, but further details were unavailable as the lawsuit was sealed.

"Acacia's lawsuits are the worst kind of abusive litigation behavior, attempting to extract payment based on litigation tactics and not the value of its patents," said David Howard, Microsoft's deputy general counsel, in an emailed statement.

A representative for Acacia did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The case is Microsoft Corp vs. Acacia Research Corp, 13-8275, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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