Microsoft is gathering up a few brownie point up its sleeve as it announced Patent Tracker, a tool that allows users to have a good look at the patents owned by Microsoft. This move is a result of a promise that Microsoft intended to fulfill during an event in Capitol Hill in February 2013.
Microsoft Patent Tracker
“Transparency around patent ownership will help prevent gamesmanship by companies that seek to lie in wait and “hold up” companies rather than enable a well-functioning secondary market. Of equal importance, transparency is a prerequisite to enforceability of patent licensing pledges, whether to standards bodies or to the world at large. Quite simply, without transparency it is impossible to determine if a company is in fact abiding by those commitments.” – Brad Smith, General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Through the Patent Tracker tool, users can now visit the Microsoft page and get to know more about the patents that the software giant owns. Not just that but this tool also allows users to download all the relevant info. Users can obtain the list in two forms:
- an online list that is searchable by patent number, patent title, country and whether the patent is held by Microsoft or a subsidiary
- a CSV file containing the entire list that is downloadable and searchable in Microsoft Excel.
“We take this step today because we believe that all stakeholders of the U.S. patent system – private companies, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Congress and the courts – share responsibility for taking steps to improve its operation. Sensible improvements to the patent system, such as increasing transparency on patent ownership, will yield tangible outcomes that enhance American competitiveness, create jobs and foster growth in nearly every sector of the U.S. economy.”
Through Patent Tracker, Microsoft wishes to maintain transparency regarding patent ownership in an effort to prevent gamesmanship amongst contemporaries. More importantly, it aims to achieve a well-functioning system that provides notice regarding inventions – not only by the nature of what has been invented but also about who owns the patent.
Microsoft also urges other companies to join in and help increase transparency, facilitate licensing, and help ensure that the patent system continues to fulfill its role in promoting and encouraging innovation.
Now that’s a wonderful initiative, Microsoft!