Microsoft Receives 5,000th Patent

Microsoft on Tuesday announced that it had been granted its 5,000th patent in the United States, with a patent surrounding online video game play on the Xbox 360. The company said the feat underscores its commitment to innovation, adding it would continue to open the doors to its research and development efforts.

While the company is far behind IBM, which holds over 25,000 patents, or other leaders HP, Intel, Samsung and Sony, Microsoft said it is modeling its licensing structure on those companies. The Redmond company first promised to license its technologies in December 2003.

According to a Microsoft spokesperson, the company now ranks in the top five technology patent holders.

Among its patent licensees are both partners and competitors: Autodesk, Inrix, Motorola, Palm, SAP, Softedge-Systems, Sony Ericsson, Sun Microsystems, Symbian and Turbolinux.
The 5,000th patent is a marker of the progress we have made in the past few years — building a high-quality, innovative and industry-recognized portfolio,” Microsoft senior vice president and general counsel Brad Smith said.

While the patent, number 6,999,083, allows for certain facets of game play, it also enables users to sign into an online game as a spectator. The game would then produce highlights, instant replays and unique views that would make watching the game as enjoyable as playing it.

The “spectator” experience will be used extensively in Xbox 360 games.

The company said it has a goal of filing for 3,000 patents per year. Microsoft roughly spends about $500,000 per patent in R&D, which is in line with industry averages. The company’s strategy for patent licensing calls for the fees to be reinvested into the research and development process.

“Through patents, we are able to license our technologies widely to others in the industry, increasing the availability of our innovations and getting beneficial solutions in the hands of customers,” Smith said.

News source: Betanews

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