REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 4, 2009 — Microsoft Corp. and Brother Industries Ltd. have signed a patent cross-licensing agreement to allow access to each company’s respective patent portfolio. The agreement encompasses a broad range of patents and will help further each company’s research and development (R&D) efforts.
Through this agreement, Brother Industries will gain access to Microsoft’s patents for Brother’s current and future product lines, including multifunction products (MFPs), printers and certain Linux-based embedded devices. Microsoft will gain access to Brother’s patents for Microsoft’s current and future product lines, including Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office and other IT product lines. Although the contents of the agreement have not been disclosed, the parties indicated that Microsoft is being compensated by Brother.
“We believe that intellectual property licensing is an empowering way to bring innovation to the IT ecosystem,” said David Kaefer, general manager of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft. “Our partners and customers continue to demand greater collaboration as they run increasingly diverse IT environments using technology and solutions that rely on both proprietary and open source code. This ‘mixed source’ world calls for sensible business arrangements between IT leaders to enable the use of software resulting from various development and business models.”
Brother is a global leader in both the manufacturing and distribution of monochrome and color MFPs, printers and parts and supplies. The company’s extensive product range can support the broad document needs of diverse customer groups ranging from individual users and small workgroups up to large enterprise-level environments.
Microsoft continues to be an industry leader in building partnerships through collaborative intellectual property (IP) engagements. As well, its continued pursuit of quality over quantity in relation to its patent portfolio continues to yield positive results. Recently, Microsoft’s patent portfolio was given the year-end top quality rating by the IEEE patent index for the second year in a row.
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 R&D investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio. In recent years, Microsoft has entered into similar agreements with other leading providers of printers and MFPs, including HP, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd., Seiko Epson Corp., Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd. and Kyocera Mita Corp.
More information about Microsoft’s licensing programs is available at http://www.microsoft.com/iplicensing/.
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