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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.

  • 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...
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • sixdegree
    It's like a man is offering you a lasagna, but all you can see in his kitchen is spaghetti boxes.
    Reply
  • v3nom777
    mmm Lasasgna.
    Reply
  • jhansonxi
    "Fair and Reasonable" is in the eye of the beholder. $1 USD less than the cost of litigation could be considered "reasonable".
    Reply
  • 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...
    Reply
  • ericburnby
    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.
    Reply
  • in_the_loop
    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.

    Reply
  • Azimuth01
    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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply