Microsoft and Alpine Enter Into Broad Patent Licensing Agreement

Microsoft and Alpine Enter Into Broad Patent Licensing Agreement

IP and technology agreement will further innovation in the automotive field.

REDMOND, Wash., and TOKYO — Microsoft Corp. and Alpine Electronics Inc. have signed an agreement to cross-license the companies’ respective patent portfolios. The deal will further the development of each company’s current and future product lines, expanding technological innovation and enhancing the overall customer and consumer experience.

The agreement expands the relationship between Alpine and Microsoft to promote the exchange of information and the incorporation of patented technologies in car navigation systems and other consumer electronics products. Since 2002, Alpine has been adopting Microsoft’s automotive-specific operating system, Windows Automotive, on almost all its navigation systems for the aftermarket and automotive OEM factory installations. The agreement will strengthen the relationship between the companies for further innovations in the automotive field.

“This agreement builds on a strong existing relationship between Microsoft and Alpine, and provides both companies with further access to their respective patent portfolios,” said Horacio Gutierrez, vice president of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft. “These cross-licensing deals support the further development of technological innovations and industry collaborations that ultimately benefit consumers and the entire IT ecosystem.”

“Alpine is looking forward to continued collaboration with Microsoft, and this agreement enables both companies to build upon their cutting-edge innovations,” said Satoshi Soma, director of audiovisual product development at Alpine. “We look forward to incorporating Microsoft’s technologies into our product platforms to create navigation and information systems that meet the advanced performance expectations of today’s tech-savvy consumers.”

Although the specific financial terms of the agreement are confidential, the parties indicated that Microsoft is being paid by Alpine for the license to Microsoft patents.

This licensing agreement is another example of the important role intellectual property (IP) plays in ensuring a healthy and vibrant IT ecosystem. Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 475 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its IP portfolio. The program was developed to open up access to Microsoft’s significant research and development investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio. In the past year, Microsoft has entered into similar agreements with Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd., JVC Americas Corp., Kenwood Corp., Kyocera Mita Corp., LG Electronics, NEC Corp., Nortel Networks, Novell Inc., Olympus Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Seiko Epson Corp.