Microsoft Corp. and I-O Data Device Inc. have entered into an agreement that will provide I-O Data’s customers with patent coverage for their use of I-O Data’s products running Linux and other related open source software.
Specifically, the patent covenants apply to I-O Data’s network-attached storage devices and its routers, which run Linux. Although the details of the agreement have not been disclosed, the parties indicated that Microsoft is being compensated by I-O Data.
“We’re pleased to reach this agreement with I-O Data,” said David Kaefer, general manager of Intellectual Property Licensing at Microsoft. “Microsoft has a strong track record of collaboration with companies running Linux-based offerings, and this agreement is a reflection of our commitment to partner with industry leaders around the world.”
This patent agreement is an extension of the strong relationship between Microsoft and I-O Data in both the consumer and enterprise markets. The companies recently worked together on a Windows 7 marketing campaign, and I-O Data released one of the industry’s first Windows 7 API-based sensors, which automatically detects when a person enters or leaves an office or room.
This patent agreement is another example of the important role that intellectual property (IP) plays 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 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 research and development investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio. In recent years, Microsoft has entered into patent agreements with other leading companies that use Linux for their embedded devices, including Brother International Corp., Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd., Kyocera Mita Corp., LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and TomTom International BV.