Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

Microsoft and Casio Computer have signed a patent-protection deal, resulting in Casio paying Microsoft an undisclosed amount for IP coverage for Linux-based devices.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

After issuing press release after press release touting the Android patent-protection deals it had signed in the past few months, Microsoft went back and added a new Linux licensee to its patent-deal roster.

On September 20, Microsoft officials said that Microsoft and Casio Computer Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Casio Worldwide, had entered into a "a broad, multiyear patent cross-licensing agreement that, among other things, will provide Casio’s customers with patent coverage for their use of Linux in certain Casio devices."

The pair aren't sharing terms of the deal, but are acknowledging that Casio is compensating Microsoft an undisclosed amount as part of the arrangement.

Casio Computer doesn't only use Linux in its products. It also licenses  Microsoft's Windows Embedded operating-system software for use in its industrial handheld terminals and Windows in its business information systems. This division of the company also manufactures and sells digital cameras, watches, electronic dictionaries, electronic musical instruments, calculators, cell phones, cash registers, printers and various electronic components.

Before it was rounding up Android patent licensees, Microsoft had been focusing on Linux vendors as its IP licensing targets. Novell (and now its parent Attachmate/SUSE) have signed a patent deal with Microsoft, as had a number of Linux vendors, including Linspire, Melco/Buffalo, Fuji Xerox and Samsung.

Microsoft officials infamously claimed a couple of years ago that Linux and other free software violated 235 Microsoft patents, but never publicly listed which patents Linux allegedly infringes.

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