Microsoft against anonymous patent ownership; supports related bill in US Congress

Having had its fair share of legal troubles regarding patent ownership, Microsoft has now officially declared its support to the new End Anonymous Patents Act introduced in the U.S. Congress today by House of Representatives member Ted Deutch (D-Fla.).

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If passed into law, the End Anonymous Patents Act would “require disclosure of the real party in interest of a patent upon issuance or, in cases where patents are transferred, within a short time after acquisition.” Microsoft feels that such a requirement will not just improve the overall system but also contribute in reducing the number of legal battles over patent ownership.

“We think legislation to require transparency around patent ownership will help improve the operation of the patent system, facilitate licensing and thus reduce litigation, and for that reason are heartened by the introduction of this bill and Chairman Patrick Leahy’s statement last month that he plans to work “on legislation that will ensure the real party in interest of a patent is disclosed.” – Horacio Gutierrez, Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft

According to the present system of ownership of patents at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Microsoft fears that some patent owners take advantage of the voluntary ownership record and hold back from revealing their identity as the patent owner for tactical advantage in licensing negotiations or to avoid complying with patent licensing commitments.

“By promoting innovation, the patent system provides significant societal and economic benefits. Even so, there are steps we can take to make it work even better. Improving transparency of patent ownership – something we have done with patents we own via our Patent Tracker – is one key step along the path.”

Back in March 2013, Microsoft launched Patent Tracker – a tool that allows users to view and search through all the patents owned by Microsoft presently.

Now that’s some clean play, Microsoft. Hope others follow suit too.

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Microsoft Student Partner | Computer Science graduate | Loves flirting with technology | Microsoft watcher | Syed Asrarullah lives on the web at @asrartheone.