Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Microsoft Promises "Fair and Reasonable" Patent Licensing

By - Source: Bloomberg | B 19 comments

In a post its official blog, Microsoft confirmed on Tuesday an official change to its policy on licensing of industry standard patentsĀ 

"The international standards system works well," the statement says, "because firms that contribute to standards promise to make their essential patents available to others on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms." The statement also seems to call Apple to account, noting that "[c]onsumers and the entire industry will suffer if, in disregard of this promise, firms seek to block others from shipping products on the basis of such standard essential patents."

As part of the new policy, Microsoft has vowed to "always adhere" to promises made to standards organizations. The Redmond, WA-based company has vowed not to sue or seek injunctions against companies using "those essential patents," and to make licenses available without quid pro quo sharing of patents from a licensing company, except when those patents are "essential to the same industry standard".

While this move could be interpreted as intended to avoid worldwide courtroom fights like the ongoing conflict between Apple and Samsung, it is also intended to force the hand of its competitors. Google announced on the same day its own policy regarding the licensing of industry standard patents, one directly at odds with Microsoft's. Google intends to retain the option to seek an injunction should patent negotiations fail. As Microsoft's new policy also states they will not license patents to companies whose policies are not in lockstep with their own, it would seem the disagreement over Google's supposed cribbing of elements from Windows in the creation of Android will continue apace.

For further reading, Dave Heiner, the head of Microsoft's Corporate Standards Group & Antitrust Group, elaborated the new policy in a lengthy post to Technet. The company has recently-inked patent sharing deals with Quanta, Samsung, Acer, and ViewSonic.

Discuss
Display all 19 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    palladin9479 , February 10, 2012 1:57 AM
    Its more the start of an attack on Apple. MS along with Google is calling for major players in various IT sectors to team up and share / license out patents to prevent Apple for screwing people over. So far Apple has mostly gone after small frys and Samsung is the only big company they've been fighting. If Samsung license's a ton of MS / Google mobile related patents, then it would force Apple to fight all three in court, something that they would most likely lose.

    Apple: We're going to sue you for using square icons with rounded corners.
    Phone Company: We've already got a license for that from Microsoft.
    Microsoft: *Grins* at Apple...
Other Comments
  • -4 Hide
    john412smith , February 9, 2012 11:50 PM
    Its like when a man is shooting at you from a distance, missing every shot. Then he promises he will not shoot again as long as you get closer...
  • -6 Hide
    phamhlam , February 9, 2012 11:53 PM
    Its more like a man killing terrorist who like to hijack things and telling the terrorist that they can help the man kill the rest of the terrorist for the greater good.
  • 4 Hide
    sixdegree , February 10, 2012 12:11 AM
    It's like a man is offering you a lasagna, but all you can see in his kitchen is spaghetti boxes.
  • 5 Hide
    v3nom777 , February 10, 2012 1:15 AM
    mmm Lasasgna.
  • 4 Hide
    jhansonxi , February 10, 2012 1:24 AM
    "Fair and Reasonable" is in the eye of the beholder. $1 USD less than the cost of litigation could be considered "reasonable".
  • 12 Hide
    palladin9479 , February 10, 2012 1:57 AM
    Its more the start of an attack on Apple. MS along with Google is calling for major players in various IT sectors to team up and share / license out patents to prevent Apple for screwing people over. So far Apple has mostly gone after small frys and Samsung is the only big company they've been fighting. If Samsung license's a ton of MS / Google mobile related patents, then it would force Apple to fight all three in court, something that they would most likely lose.

    Apple: We're going to sue you for using square icons with rounded corners.
    Phone Company: We've already got a license for that from Microsoft.
    Microsoft: *Grins* at Apple...
  • -7 Hide
    ericburnby , February 10, 2012 2:15 AM
    palladin9479Its more the start of an attack on Apple. MS along with Google is calling for major players in various IT sectors to team up and share / license out patents to prevent Apple for screwing people over. So far Apple has mostly gone after small frys and Samsung is the only big company they've been fighting. If Samsung license's a ton of MS / Google mobile related patents, then it would force Apple to fight all three in court, something that they would most likely lose.Apple: We're going to sue you for using square icons with rounded corners.Phone Company: We've already got a license for that from Microsoft.Microsoft: *Grins* at Apple...

    So much fail here.

    Apple, MS and Cisco have all come out and stated basically the same thing about licensing - they are all in agreement with each other.

    It's Motorola and Google who they are ganging up against after Motorola's outrageous 2.25% demands from Apple for FRAND patents. Everyone in the industry knows 2.25% of retail is a ridiculous amount to request and is un-sustainable. Worse yet is that Google just released a letter to IEEE about their stance on licensing and it's also ridiculous (similar to Motorola).

    Just wait - there will be many more companies to align themselves with Apple/MS/Cisco and speak out against Motorola.

    HTC, for example, must be very happy Apple is standing up to Motorola. They couldn't afford to start paying those kinds of fees to all the companies they license from.
  • 4 Hide
    in_the_loop , February 10, 2012 5:52 AM
    ericburnbySo much fail here.Apple, MS and Cisco have all come out and stated basically the same thing about licensing - they are all in agreement with each other.It's Motorola and Google who they are ganging up against after Motorola's outrageous 2.25% demands from Apple for FRAND patents. Everyone in the industry knows 2.25% of retail is a ridiculous amount to request and is un-sustainable. Worse yet is that Google just released a letter to IEEE about their stance on licensing and it's also ridiculous (similar to Motorola).Just wait - there will be many more companies to align themselves with Apple/MS/Cisco and speak out against Motorola.HTC, for example, must be very happy Apple is standing up to Motorola. They couldn't afford to start paying those kinds of fees to all the companies they license from.


    What are you on about?
    HTC is on the android side. They have been sued by apple , which together with Microsoft has sued just about everybody to the left and right. HTC can't import and sell phones up to and including Android 2.2 to the US.

    Google using Android is the real innovator now, where several functions have been copied by apple and incorporated in their latest Ios;es (3,4 and 5).
    But still Apple continues to sue.
    As soon as google just hints of using the same methods as the bad guys and in defence the fan boys cries foul play!

    Let's not forget who is the open source innovator here and who the people are that once said a good artist copies, a great artist steals. Hint : A certain bad apple.

  • 1 Hide
    Azimuth01 , February 10, 2012 10:49 AM
    This is business. All about money. Sides change biased on where the most projected profits will come from. Apple and MS could be teaming up to go after Google, and the very next court session Google and MS will be in bed with each other so they can screw Cisco.

    In the end no company will come out substantially ahead. The only people who are really winning in this patent war are the lawyers, because it sure as hell is not the consumers.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 10, 2012 11:56 AM
    I have recently concluded an investigation into the UK patent office and preliminary conclusions are that they are unfit to issue patents on a number of basic and fundamental grounds.
    From a purely personal point of view I would consider any UK patent null and void purely on the basis
    of their ubiquitous and ongoing ineptitude.
    I rather suspect other patent officies worldwide would fall into a similar category.
    Perhaps companies are making the wrong arguaments in the courts.
  • 1 Hide
    Nisdec , February 10, 2012 2:12 PM
    If you want to understand why a certain company does what it does. Just follow the money.
  • 3 Hide
    DRosencraft , February 10, 2012 2:54 PM
    It seems that someone's finally woken up and seen how ridiculous the patent litigation has become. It seems like every week there's another lawsuit from one tech company or another over some ubiquitous element anyone could dream up. I would hope that all companies could agree to a similar principle Microsoft has stated, but in the end we will have to see how Microsoft actually carries out this policy. It's one thing to say you're not going to sue everyone willy nilly, but let's see and hope they follow through.
  • 5 Hide
    p05esto , February 10, 2012 3:10 PM
    MS almost comes out taking the high road and doing the right things. I don't understand why people don't support MS more and give them due credit. Apple crap is overpriced, closed systems, iTunes is the devil, they sue everyone for stupid patents....yet Apple is still "hip and popular". To HELL with Apple I say.
  • -1 Hide
    burmese_dude , February 10, 2012 4:42 PM
    "Fair and Reasonable"?

    By that, they must mean: Hey Android borrows a few patents from ours, you must pay 99% of profit so it doesn't make us feel too bad in the fact that you're destroying window phones. It's fair cuz our feelings are hurt. Let's call it emotional damage and we think that's reasonable.
  • -1 Hide
    dalethepcman , February 10, 2012 5:16 PM
    burmese_dude"Fair and Reasonable"? By that, they must mean: Hey Android borrows a few patents from ours, you must pay 99% of profit so it doesn't make us feel too bad in the fact that you're destroying window phones. It's fair cuz our feelings are hurt. Let's call it emotional damage and we think that's reasonable.


    You mean the $30/device royalties that Microsoft makes off Android? Its no wonder Samsung sells primarily $600-$700 phones. That's the only price point with a margin big enough to support Microsoft's "fair and reasonable" royalties.
  • 1 Hide
    blazorthon , February 10, 2012 8:59 PM
    Well, it seems Microsoft wants it to look like they are being the bigger person in these patent wars. Whether or not they will act the part remains to be seen.

    As for companies suing each other, if it goes full circle then maybe they could all talk together, work something out where all of them share certain things with each other. That way royalties are unnecessary because they are technically paying royalties to companies sharing with them by sharing their own stuff.
  • 0 Hide
    __-_-_-__ , February 11, 2012 12:15 AM
    "Microsoft Promises "Fair and Reasonable" Patent Licensing" sure thing.
  • 0 Hide
    __-_-_-__ , February 11, 2012 12:16 AM
    "Microsoft Promises "Fair and Reasonable" Patent Licensing"

    who defines the "fair" and Reasonable? microsoft? lol.
  • 0 Hide
    in_the_loop , February 11, 2012 9:12 AM
    p05estoMS almost comes out taking the high road and doing the right things. I don't understand why people don't support MS more and give them due credit. Apple crap is overpriced, closed systems, iTunes is the devil, they sue everyone for stupid patents....yet Apple is still "hip and popular". To HELL with Apple I say.


    Nah, there are no "Good guys" out of the big three, just less evil ones. The ongoing big royalties that most android manufacturers are forced to pay to Microsoft, making it a much larger revenue for MS than their own phones isn't what I would call "Doing the right thing".
    I mean, something is wrong if you, like a patent troll, just have to sit back and doing nothing just scoping in money.
    Out of the three google is what I consider the least evil. Mostly they do the right thing, but the latest couple of things where your "personalised searches" meant they were giving preference to google+ results, wasn't exactly something I cheered for.
    But otherwise they are the most open sourced one of the three. Try to run firefox or google chrome on Iphone, for example.

    When it comes to apple, well at least we know where we have them. They aren't pretending to be the somewhat good guy, like Microsoft are doing now. I remember Jobs remark about Googles "Do no evil" saying it was "b*llsh't", but I also do believe google actually still are trying to maintain that image.

    The problem with this is that when google is doing something questionable everybody pays attention to it.
    When apple do something even more wrong, that is something that we are used to. I really do think that some people at google are regretting the "Do no evil" slogan that they used so much some years ago, because it isn't beneficial in a competitive market!