Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has signed a patent cross-license
agreement with Amazon.com Inc. The agreement provides each company with access
to the other’s patent portfolio and covers a broad range of products and
technology, including coverage for Amazon’s popular e-reading device, Kindle™,
which employs both open source and Amazon’s proprietary software components, and
Amazon’s use of Linux-based servers. Although specific terms of the agreement
are confidential, Microsoft indicated that Amazon.com will pay Microsoft an
undisclosed amount of money under the agreement.
“We are pleased to have entered into this patent license
agreement with Amazon.com,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and
deputy general counsel for Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft.
“Microsoft’s patent portfolio is the largest and strongest in the software
industry, and this agreement demonstrates our mutual respect for intellectual
property as well as our ability to reach pragmatic solutions to IP issues
regardless of whether proprietary or open source software is involved.”
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 600 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 companies,
including Apple Inc., HP, LG Electronics, Nikon Corp., Novell Inc., HOYA
CORPORATION PENTAX Imaging Systems Division, Pioneer Corp., Samsung Electronics
Co. Ltd. and Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd.