Posted by Bart Eppenauer
Chief Patent Counsel
Each year the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) rates the quality of companies’ patent portfolios, and this year again, Microsoft’s portfolio is rated the strongest in the software industry. It’s the third straight year that Microsoft has topped the IEEE Spectrum Patent Scorecard.
In another independent survey released this week, Microsoft ranked #1 in thePatent Board Scorecard, far surpassing all other information technology companies in the strength of our science and technology. Also this week,Forbes named Microsoft on its list of America’s Most Inventive Companies, based on the strength of our patent portfolio and return on R&D investments. And in January, Bloomberg BusinessWeek assessed Microsoft’s patent portfolio as having the highest value, beating out other leaders including IBM and Samsung. The magazine also placed Microsoft at the top of its Most Inventive Companies list.
These consistently high marks from experts in the industry signify that Microsoft’s focus on high-quality patent protection is working. Microsoft invests more than $9 billion annually in research and development, and the innovations that result from that R&D commitment are directly related to the quality of our patents. We’ve expanded our patent filings in recent years to match the accelerating pace of breakthrough technology developed at Microsoft, and these filings are closely aligned with our strategic business goals.
Our high-quality patent portfolio provides customers and partners with assurance that Microsoft is committed to protecting intellectual property. Through our IP licensing programs, Microsoft provides access to these technologies and patents for our partners to spur innovation and economic opportunity across the industry.
We will continue to do our part to help meet the challenges facing patent offices worldwide. We applaud efforts by major patent offices to expand patent work-sharing arrangements, such as the IP5 Foundation Projects and Patent Prosecution Highway agreements. These initiatives could help ease application backlogs caused in part by duplication in examination workloads. Such collaborative efforts – between patent offices and with industry participants – can ensure a sustainable and globally effective patent system that will continue to provide high-quality patent protection to innovators worldwide.