Posted by Bart Eppenauer
Chief Patent Counsel
There is little doubt that 2010 will go down in history as a significant year for creativity and invention at Microsoft.
We’ve released numerous compelling offerings this year, including Office 2010, Windows Phone 7, Kinect, cloud computing solutions such as Windows Azure and Office 365 and ongoing enhancements to Bing. People are excited about the new experiences we’re enabling.
The New York Times has praised Kinect for delivering a user-experience that “no other company or system can even dream of providing.” Gizmodo has called Windows Phone 7 “the most exciting thing to happen to phones in a long time.”
In addition to this excitement, another meaningful indicator of the creativity and original thinking taking place within Microsoft is the consistent recognition we’ve received in the industry this year for our high quality patents and strength of the inventions of our researchers and developers.
Just last month, the Patent Board published the third scorecard this year in a three-part series, all three ranking Microsoft’s patent portfolio number one for Information Technology based on criteria that include the strength of the company’s innovation, science and technology – ahead of IBM, Google, Apple and others.
In January, Bloomberg Businessweek assessed Microsoft’s patent portfolio as having the highest value. In March, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) ranked Microsoft first in the IEEE Spectrum Patent Scorecard for having the software industry’s strongest patent portfolio for the third year running.
This industry recognition reflects the culture of discovery, creativity and development underway at Microsoft. The company invests more than $9 billion annually across product development and basic and applied research. This investment touches virtually every product and service we offer in addition to producing significant technological and intellectual property advances across the spectrum of computer science.
These investments, combined with some of the brightest minds in consumer technology, have contributed to delivering high patent quality that also provides opportunities for others across the industry. For example, companies around the globe have taken advantage of our IP licensing program to access our technologies and patents, helping them bring new products to market more quickly in a variety of areas that include automotive infotainment software, smartphones, graphic storage on consumer devices and more.
Since Microsoft launched the IP licensing program in December 2003, we have entered into more than 700 licensing agreements with partners that also promote greater customer choice in the marketplace.
Microsoft has a clear and compelling vision for the future of technology. We will continue to advance some of the most important technology developments in areas that include natural user interface (NUI) and cloud computing, along with many other fields.
Patents will continue to play a key role in fostering technologies that enable interaction with people in new, unexpected ways. Our commitment to world-class creativity and invention in computer science and our R&D investment will enable Microsoft to continue setting the standard for patent quality in the technology industry.