Microsoft and Brother sign patent-sharing deal

The printer company agrees to pay Microsoft for use of intellectual property, but most other details of the deal remain secret
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Microsoft and the printer manufacturer Brother have signed a cross-licensing intellectual property agreement, the software leader announced on Wednesday.

According to Microsoft's statement, the deal covers a broad range of patents and "will help further each company's research and development (R&D) efforts". Microsoft said it has similar arrangements with other printer manufacturers, including HP, Samsung, Fuji Xerox, Seiko Epson and Kyocera.

"Our partners and customers continue to demand greater collaboration as they run increasingly diverse IT environments using technology and solutions that rely on both proprietary and open source code," Microsoft's general manager of intellectual property (IP) and licensing, David Kaefer, said in the statement. "This 'mixed source' world calls for sensible business arrangements between IT leaders to enable the use of software resulting from various development and business models."

Microsoft and Brother have not disclosed many details of their agreement, other than to say that Brother gets to use Microsoft's patents for its printers, and Microsoft gets to use Brother's patents for Windows, Office and other lines. The companies also said that the deal involves Brother paying Microsoft an undisclosed amount.

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