Microsoft has struck a patent agreement with Fuji Xerox that gives the Redmond software maker access to broad patents relating to document management systems that it can use in existing and future products.
For its part, Fuji Xerox—which is owned by FujiFilm Holdings and Xerox and provides business solutions that enhance the management and utilization of documents, from analog and digital data to graphics and movies—gets access to Microsofts large patent portfolio related to software and computer hardware innovations.
Fuji Xerox will be able to use this patented technology in both its proprietary and open-source products.
Fuji Xerox invests in research and development relating to document management systems and maintains a broad patent portfolio, including patents in the United States and Japan, while Microsoft maintains many patents related to software and computer hardware innovations.
While the deal allows both companies to receive compensation from their patent portfolios, the specific financial and other non-monetary provisions of the deal were not disclosed.
Executives from both companies praised the deal and the interoperability advances it would facilitate.
"We are pleased to be able to reach a broad, mutually beneficial patent agreement with Microsoft that respects each companys patent portfolio, encourages greater interoperability and provides valuable protection for the customers of each companys products and services," said Kiyoshi Saito, the senior vice president of Fuji Xerox.
Brad Smith, Microsofts senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, said that both parties had a strong commitment to innovation, and this broad patent agreement would "give us both the freedom to continue developing and building technologies that will ultimately work better together."
The agreement was also a further example of Microsofts "desire to share our innovations with other companies and build a stronger IT ecosystem through access to intellectual property," he said.
Last November, Microsoft and Novell entered into a controversial technical cooperation agreement to facilitate interoperability between their products. They also signed a covenant not to sue one anothers customers over patent infringement.
Over the past few years, Microsoft has also strengthened the intellectual property protection it affords customers and partners.
In 2006, Microsoft moved to strengthen and broaden the protections it offered those OEMs and distributors across the globe that build and sell devices powered by its Windows Embedded and Windows Mobile software.
In 2005, the company strengthened the indemnification it provided to all the PC manufacturers it works with, from the larger OEMs and smaller OEM System Builder partners to OEM distributors and ISV Royalty partners.
In November 2004, Microsoft extended its IP protection for customers by taking coverage previously available only to volume licensees and making it available to all users; while, in 2003, it removed monetary caps for volume licensees.