Microsoft, Salesforce.com settle patent litigation

Microsoft is being compensated by Salesforce.com based on the strength of Microsoft's leading patent portfolio in the areas of operating systems, cloud services and customer relationship management software

Microsoft and Salesforce.com have settled the patent infringement lawsuits the companies filed against each other, in an agreement that gives each company protection under its rival's patent portfolio.

Microsoft also said it is being compensated by Salesforce.com "based on the strength of Microsoft's leading patent portfolio in the areas of operating systems, cloud services and customer relationship management software."

Microsoft, Salesforce suits are over who rules the cloud

Although terms of the agreement were not disclosed, that sentence in a Microsoft press release seems to indicate that Microsoft has gotten the better of the deal.

The current battle began in May when Microsoft sued Salesforce alleging infringement of patents related to software efficiency. Microsoft claimed Salesforce's cloud-based CRM system violates nine Microsoft patents and demanded financial compensation.

Salesforce then sued Microsoft for patent infringement, claiming .Net and SharePoint violate Salesforce.com patents.

According to Microsoft, "the cases have been settled through a patent agreement in which Salesforce.com will receive broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for its products and services as well as its back-end server infrastructure during the term. Also as part of the agreement, Microsoft receives coverage under Salesforce.com's patent portfolio for Microsoft's products and services."

Microsoft said that its intellectual property licensing program, launched in December 2003, has produced more than 600 licensing agreements with Apple, HP, Amazon.com, LG, Nikon, Novell, Samsung and others.

The agreement with Salesforce is "an example of how companies can compete vigorously in the marketplace while respecting each other's intellectual property rights," said Microsoft deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez.

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