Microsoft Promises "Fair and Reasonable" Patent Licensing

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

"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.

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    Top Comments
  • palladin9479
    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
  • john412smith
    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...
  • phamhlam
    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.
  • sixdegree
    It's like a man is offering you a lasagna, but all you can see in his kitchen is spaghetti boxes.