It’s always interesting to see the annual reports of patent issuances that come out from patent offices around the world shortly after the first of the year. Sometimes those numbers tell a story about how those companies are thinking about their innovation assets, but sometimes the numbers can also be inaccurate at some level or confusing.
In 2015, Microsoft and Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC (MTL), a subsidiary of Microsoft formed to manage the company’s patent assets, received 2,845 U.S. and 2,577 international patents. Those numbers include both design and utility patents.
The number of patents issued is not surprising as each year Microsoft invests more than $11.4 billion in research and development on a worldwide basis. Those investments result in the innovative software, devices and services that our customers use. Intellectual property, including patents, ensure those investments provide value and benefit to our ecosystem and our shareholders.
Microsoft and its employees have worked hard to build and maintain a world-class patent portfolio, which now includes more than 59,000 US and international patents, and over 36,000 pending patent applications. Drafting and prosecuting high-quality patent applications is key to that success.
Our patenting strategy, in terms of how, when and where we choose to protect those innovations, is closely aligned to Microsoft’s overall business strategy. Microsoft is committed to transparency of patent ownership and all patents owned directly by either Microsoft or MTL or through subsidiaries are publicly available via the Open Register of Patent Ownership.
Microsoft will continue to be one of the top patent filers in the world, which reflects our commitment to the tremendous amount of R&D and innovation that goes into creating products for our partners and our customers.