Microsoft to strengthen IP protection

Moving to quell patent apprehension, Microsoft announced it will strengthen legal protection for distributors of its mobile and embedded software.

Moving to quell apprehension about patents, Microsoft will strengthen intellectual property (IP) protection for manufacturers and distributors using its software.

Microsoft has removed a cap on some legal costs for companies that use or alter source code in Windows Embedded and Windows Mobile software platforms. Costs covered by the move would include patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret claims.

Microsoft said about 4,000 companies use embedded or mobile software. The company did not reveal the previous limit.

"We want our partners to have confidence they are not unnecessarily exposing themselves to IP problems," said Hardy Poppinga, Microsoft spokesman. "We're only making money if our partners are making money."

Microsoft introduced the IP program in 2003, Poppinga said. The program was expanded in 2004 to cover low-volume customers and partners, he said.

The changes bring those who use the Embedded and Mobile software in their devices in line with the IP protection Microsoft has extended to some of its other flagship products, the company said.

Microsoft's Embedded and Mobile software is used in smartphones, portable media centers, ATM machines, retail point-of-sale systems, industrial robots and thin clients.

In December, Visto accused Microsoft of a "blatant" infringement on three U.S. patents related to accessing e-mail from phones and other wireless devices. Visto filed suit in U.S. District Court in Texas seeking unspecified monetary damages and an injunction to stop Microsoft from shipping its Windows Mobile 5.0 platform, released in May 2005.

The timing of the new program with that litigation is "purely coincidental," Poppinga said. "The Visto case has nothing to do with what we're announcing here," he said.

Microsoft is currently involved in 35 patent-infringement disputes, according to a filing last month with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Poppinga said he did not have information on any cases that deal with Windows Embedded or Windows Mobile software.

Also closely watched is NTP's patent-infringement case against Research in Motion (RIM), the vendor providing the popular BlackBerry push e-mail service. NTP is seeking a permanent injunction that would cause a BlackBerry blackout.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?