Microsoft today announced that it has signed a patent cross-license agreement with Amazon.com Inc that lets each company tap into the other's patented technology, including that for hot-selling Kindle electronic readers.
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 were not unveilled 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."
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. In recent years, Microsoft has entered into similar agreements with other companies, including Apple Inc., HP, LG Electronics, Nikon Corp., Novell Inc., Pioneer Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd.