Thursday, December 16, 2004

MICROSOFT AND AUTODESK COZY UP: As part of its plan to gain access to a broader portfolio of intellectual property, Microsoft has signed a patent swap deal with design software maker Autodesk.

Under the pact, the two companies will gain access to each other's patents in a variety of areas, including data management, collaboration, digital effects, digital rights management, project management, computer-aided design and location-based services.

Microsoft has been stepping up its activity on the patent front, ramping up its own filings and at the same time trying to ink cross-license deals with other tech companies. Microsoft has been using the combined power as a marketing vehicle against Linux, noting that it indemnifies its customers against potential patent infringement claims.

Neither company would discuss financial details of the cross-licensing arrangement, including whether any money changed hands. Kaefer has said that Microsoft currently spent about $1.4 billion last year on patent licensing, but noted the company has an opportunity to narrow those losses by more aggressively licensing its own portfolio.

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