REDMOND, Wash., and TOKYO — Sept. 16, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. and Pioneer Corp. signed a patent cross-licensing agreement that furthers the development of each company’s product lines and will expand technological innovation to enhance the overall customer experience. The cross-licensing agreement covers a broad range of consumer products, including Pioneer’s auto navigation products and televisions, as well as Microsoft’s software products. The agreement allows greater mutual access to each partner’s respective patent portfolio.
The agreement, recently signed by representatives of both companies, expands the relationship between Microsoft and Pioneer to promote the incorporation of patented technologies in their respective products. Although the contents of the agreement, including the specific financial terms, are confidential, the parties indicated that Microsoft is being compensated by Pioneer.
“Industry collaboration through intellectual property licensing fosters innovation that benefits the customer, the consumer and the overall IT ecosystem,” said Horacio Gutierrez, vice president of intellectual property (IP) and licensing at Microsoft. “We are proud of our innovations and the quality of our comprehensive global patent portfolio. This agreement will help bring new and exciting technologies to customers who have learned to expect high-quality technology from Microsoft and Pioneer.”
Recently, Microsoft’s patent portfolio was given the year-end top quality rating in the IT industry by two of the leading independent patent-quality rating systems. As well, Microsoft has entered into similar patent cross-licensing agreements relevant to auto navigation in the past 12 months with industry leaders Kenwood Corp. and Alpine Electronics Inc.
“These types of agreements extend collaboration and innovation in the automotive field by allowing us to help our partners deliver groundbreaking in-vehicle technologies and product enhancements,” said Velle Kolde, senior product manager, Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit.
Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit is a dedicated partner to the auto industry, providing innovative technologies and flexible software platforms to help deliver simple, reliable and cost-effective in-vehicle infotainment systems. Developed closely with automakers and automotive suppliers, the award-winning Microsoft Auto and Windows Automotive software platforms connect drivers with a wide range of devices, services and technology while on the go, including hands-free communication, mobile device integration, customized navigation and high-fidelity digital entertainment.
Microsoft’s Commitment to Licensing Technology
The licensing agreement is another example of the important role IP plays in ensuring a healthy and vibrant IT ecosystem. Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 500 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its IP portfolio. The program was developed to open access to Microsoft’s significant research and development investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio. Over the past two years, Microsoft has entered into similar agreements with Alpine, Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd., HOYA CORPORATION PENTAX Imaging Systems Division, Kenwood, Kyocera Mita Corp., LG Electronics, NEC Corp., Nikon Corp., Nortel Networks, Novell Inc., Olympus Corp., Onkyo Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Seiko Epson Corp., and Victor Company of Japan Ltd. (JVC).
More information about Microsoft’s licensing programs is available at http://www.microsoft.com/ip.
Pioneer Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, is a leading global manufacturer of consumer- and business-use electronics products such as audio, video and car electronics. Its shares are traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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