Microsoft extends its patent agreements with Fuji Xerox, Melco

Microsoft has updated its patent agreements -- both of which likely include Linux licensing elements -- with Fuji Xerox and Melco Holdings.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft has announced two updated patent licensing deals with Fuji Xerox and Melco Holdings.

The latest patent deals are "continuations and extensions" of patent deals that Microsoft already had in place with the two companies. Microsoft officials are not disclosing any financial terms of either of the new deals, a spokesperson confirmed.

Microsoft initially signed a cross-licensing patent deal with Fuji Xerox in 2007. That agreement covered Fuji Xerox products that incorporated both proprietary source code and "open source software, such as Linux."

Microsoft, for its part, gained access to Fuji Xerox patents for Microsoft's "existing and future proprietary product lines, including Microsoft Office." Both companies received monetary and non-monetary provisions that resulted in both being compensated for their patent portfolios, according to the 2007 press release covering the agreement.

The updated cross-licensing agreement between the two companies, announced on March 19, covers digital imaging, document management and mobile consumer products, Microsoft officials said. Fuji Xerox is a 75-25 joint venture between FUJIFILM Holdings and Xerox that sells document-management systems.

I asked whether the updated patent deal covers any Fuji Xerox products that run Linux or Android and was told by a Microsoft spokesperson that Microsoft declined to comment. Microsoft officials also declined to comment on whether Fuji Xerox is paying Microsoft as part of the updated patent agreement.

In 2009, Microsoft signed a patent deal with Melco, the Japanese-based parent company of Buffalo Inc. and Buffalo Group. Buffalo makes network-attached storage (NAS) and routers, including the LinkStation and AirStation products.

At that time, Microsoft officials said that the Melco/Buffalo deal applied to Melco products that ran Linux and other related open-source software. Microsoft's 2009 press release said that Melco Group was paying Microsoft undisclosed royalties as part of the arrangement.

Microsoft officials declined to comment as to whether Melco is continuing to pay Microsoft patent royalties as part of the new Microsoft-Melco agreement announced on March 16.

Microsoft officials said the company has signed more than 1,000 patent agreements over the past ten years with a variety of vendors. Some, but nowhere near all, of these agreements are cover products running Linux, Android and Chrome OS -- operating systems which Microsoft officials claim include Microsoft-patented technologies.

Microsoft recently sued Kyocera , alleging Kyocera's mobile phones running Android infringe on Microsoft patents.

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