Companies that partner with Microsoft will own the patents and design rights that result from any shared innovation work, according to a new initiative.
Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, shared the technology company’s innovation initiative in a blog post on Wednesday, April 4.
Intended to address the IP challenges that arise from co-created technologies, the initiative will be guided by seven key areas: respect for ownership of existing technology; assuring customer ownership of new patent and design rights; support for open source; licensing new IP rights to Microsoft; software portability; transparency; and learning and improving.
As part of the policy, Microsoft’s partners will then license the rights covering the resulting creations back to Microsoft to enable the technology company to improve its own platforms.
Collaboration between technology companies and their customers is increasing, according to Smith, raising “questions regarding who owns the patents and resulting IP” of the co-created innovations.
The concern is that, without a strategy which guarantees that customers will own patents central to new inventions, technology companies will use that knowledge to compete against their customers in the market.
Each party will own the existing technology and IP that they bring to the table. Smith said this was important as “our ability to co-create relies on both companies respecting each other’s IP”.
The blog post cites a hospital in South Korea, which uses motion-tracking artificial intelligence to improve surgeries, as an example of a collaboration with Microsoft.
On the same day, Microsoft announced its plan to invest $5 billion in the Internet of Things (IoT) over the next four years. By dedicating more resources to research and innovation in IoT, Microsoft is ensuring that customers’ current and future needs will be met, according to the announcement.
Source: WIPR website