Microsoft today launched a list of its complete patent portfolio as part of its defense of the software patent system.
is currently composed of nearly 41,000 U.S. and international patents assigned to Microsoft or one of its subsidiaries.
The "Patent Tracker" tool provides a list of all of the patents Microsoft owns. Through the Patent Tracker, users can obtain the list in two forms: (1) an online list that is searchable by patent number, patent title, country and whether the patent is held by Microsoft or a subsidiary, and (2) a CSV file containing the entire list that is downloadable and searchable in Microsoft Excel.
"We take this step today because we believe that all stakeholders of the U.S. patent system - private companies, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Congress and the courts - share responsibility for taking steps to improve its operation," said Brad Smith
General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft. "Sensible improvements to the patent system, such as increasing transparency on patent ownership, will yield tangible outcomes that enhance American competitiveness, create jobs and foster growth in nearly every sector of the U.S. economy."
Microsoft has been pushing patent transparency since February, when Smith argued that governments need to fix what's broken, but leave what's working untouched. Among the reforms he urged was more openness on who owned what.
After appearing before congressional staffers during a Washington, D.C., briefing Feb. 21, Smith promised that Microsoft would publish a list of its patents.
Smith called on others to follow Microsoft's lead. "We urge other companies to join us in making available information about which patents they own," he said.