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Microsoft, Funai ink patent cross-licensing deal

Posted: 27 Jan 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Microsoft Funai license? cross-licensing agreement? LCD?

Microsoft Corp. has signed a patent cross-licensing agreement with Funai Electric Co. Ltd, a manufacturer of LCD TVs sold in the United States under brands such as Philips, Magnavox, Sylvania and Emerson. The agreement seeks to further the development of each company's current and future products. The agreement enables greater mutual access to each company's respective patent portfolio.

The agreement covers consumer A/V products including LCD TVs. Funai also will gain access to Microsoft's extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) patents. These patents cover many of the ideas behind exFAT, a file system built to handle today's rich and integrated media experiences. Although the contents of the agreement have not been disclosed, the parties indicated that Microsoft is being compensated by Funai.

Microsoft and Funai believe that this patent cross-licensing agreement will substantially benefit their customers.

"Consumers want TVs to offer experiences that were once available primarily on personal computers. A patent license like this one allows two industry leaders to deliver the type of cutting-edge innovations that today's consumers demand," said David Kaefer, general manager of IP licensing at Microsoft. "Our patent portfolio reflects the innovation that results from the billions of dollars of R&D Microsoft invests each year, and we are pleased to share access with an established leader such as Funai."

"We are very pleased that this agreement enables us to incorporate Microsoft technology into our products, which will foster an even richer user experience for our customers," said Kenji Sakata, officer of IP licensing at Funai.

The licensing agreement is another example of the important role patents play in ensuring a healthy and vibrant IT ecosystem. 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. The program was developed to open access to Microsoft's significant R&D investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio. Over the past few years, Microsoft has entered into similar agreements with Nikon, Olympus, Onkyo, Pioneer, Samsung Electronics, Seiko Epson, Toshiba and JVC.

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