Microsoft, NEC Ink Patent Cross-Licensing Deal

Microsoft and NEC have signed a patent cross-licensing agreement covering IT and networking technology, the companies said Wednesday.

The agreement was signed as part of a broader alliance covering product development cooperation in several different technology areas. The work will include integration of NEC’s Univerge servers with Microsoft’s Live Communications Server 2005 to strengthen NEC’s voice-over-IP (VoIP) offerings.

Such work touches upon many technologies in the IT and networking fields and could include a broad array of patents, said Kazuhiko Kobayashi, executive vice president of NEC, at a Tokyo news conference.

"If we have to worry about patents, the development [work] will not be done in a smooth manner, so in order to achieve our goals quickly we need this agreement," said Kobayashi.

Kaoru Yano, president of NEC, and Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO
NEC President Kaoru Yano and MS CEO Steve Ballmer

Microsoft decided in December 2003 to pursue patent cross-licensing agreements with key partners. It has since signed a number of deals with companies including Siemens, SAP and Toshiba.

-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service

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