Patent Cross Licensing Deal for Microsoft and Canon

The IT world is rife with companies fighting for intellectual property rights and patent infringement lawsuits? Now, two of the world’s leading technology names have decided to cull the animosity and instead become patent buddies by having their patent lawyers ink a cross linking patent deal.

Microsoft, the software magnet, and Canon, the ‘It’ name in imaging technology, have decided to shake hands on a patent cross linking deal that will allow the two companies to share intellectual property on a broad range of “products and services” that could also include mobile products and new imaging equipment. Though the exact details of the deal have not been forthcoming, the tech world is surely taking notice of this interesting collaboration.

Innovation is the Name of the Game

Industry watchers and patent lawyers worldwide are waiting with baited breath to see how the deal works and the kind of innovative products that come out of the collaboration between Microsoft and Canon. Nick Psyhogeos, General Manager, Associate General Counsel, IP Licensing of the Innovation and Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft, said that the company believes cross linked patents are the way to the future.

Psyhogeos said that Microsoft’s mantra has always been to innovate while reducing patent fights and this is the perfect way to achieve that. The company believes that partnering with Canon will help them come up with products that will be at the cutting edge of technology, and will also wow their customers worldwide.

Hideki Sanatake, Senior General Manager, Corporate Intellectual Property and Legal Headquarters, Canon, also commented by saying that the patent deal with Microsoft was but a natural extension of the long standing relationship between the two companies and their commitment to providing innovative solutions to their customers across the globe.

Microsoft’s Long Running IP Licensing Program

Launched in December of 2003, Microsoft’s IP Licensing Program has seen the software giant sign over 1,100 agreements with various companies. Even bitter rivals like Apple Inc. and Oracle were won over by Microsoft through its IP licensing program instead of playing hardball in court.

Canon and Microsoft agree to save on litigation costs and to cooperate.

Canon and Microsoft agree to save on litigation costs and to cooperate.

With Canon as well, Microsoft has signed a patent licensing deal in the past when the software company allowed hardware vendors extensive use of its exFAt file system. One of the obvious use of Canon’s technology can be in the Nokia handset units that Microsoft acquired recently for its Windows phone devices and between its printers and enterprise oriented software.

Patent licensing has been a win-win situation for Microsoft since 2003. Instead of sending its patent lawyers to court to negotiate tricky deals, the company believes in sharing and reaping rewards. It is estimated that the tech company which is currently led by Satya Nadella earns around $2 billion in royalties from Android which violates some of its patents in its products. All the patent licensing deals that the company has signed till now have been similarly beneficial and experts agree that the deal with Canon will prove to be mutually beneficial as well.

Patent Search

One of the major steps in patenting is a patient search. Patent attorneys consider a patent search critical since it gives the potential applicant an idea about the feasibility of pursuing a patent in the first place. These searches do not come with guarantees although the goal of the exercise is to reach the confidence threshold of around 80 percent.

A comprehensive search can, for the most part, direct the rest of the patent project or indicate the unlikelihood of obtaining a suitable patent claim. This can save the inventor a significant amount of time and money. In some cases, patent attorneys recommend filing a provisional patent application, which involves fewer formalities when compared with non-provisional patent applications, leading to reduced costs. For many applicants, this is the ideal alternative where they get protection for what they have presently and are able to continue to improve their invention over a period of time prior to filing a non-provisional application.