Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have agreed to provide each other access to their patent portfolio, including the technology behind Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader, Microsoft announced yesterday.
The agreement covers a broad range of products and technology, including the open source and proprietary software components supporting the Kindle and Amazon’s use of Linux-based web servers, Microsoft says.
Microsoft did not identify which parts of its patent portfolio will be accessible to Amazon, which will pay Microsoft “an undisclosed amount of money under the agreement,” the software company says. A spokesman for Microsoft said that more specific terms of the agreement remain confidential. Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, did not immediately return a request for comment.
“We are pleased to have entered into this patent license agreement with Amazon.com,” says 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.”
Microsoft notes that, since launching its intellectual property licensing program in December 2003, it has entered more than 600 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners, and competitors to access its intellectual property portfolio. In recent years, Microsoft has entered similar agreements with companies including Apple Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., LG Electronics Inc., Nikon Corp., Novell Inc., Pentax Imaging Systems Division, Pioneer Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd.