Microsoft announced on Monday that it has signed a patent cross-license agreement with Amazon.
In a press release neither company went into specifics but both confirmed they would grant access to the other’s patent portfolio. The portfolio's cover a broad range of products and technology, including Amazon's Kindle. Although specific terms of the agreement are confidential, Microsoft indicated that Amazon will pay Microsoft an undisclosed amount of money under the agreement.
This isn't the first time the two companies have worked closely with each other. In July 2007 Amazon and Microsoft teamed up to market and sell HD-DVDs. In August 2009 both companies also announced they would work together on the Open Book Alliance in their opposition of Google's Book Search service.
It's not yet clear which technologies and patents both companies will share but these deals are typically only put in place when a potential patent dispute comes to light. The deal will likely include an agreement not to sue each other over any patent violations in each others products.
Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft, said he was pleased the company had agreed a deal with Amazon. “Microsoft’s patent portfolio is the largest and strongest in the software industry, and this agreement demonstrates our mutual respect for intellectual property as well as our ability to reach pragmatic solutions to IP issues regardless of whether proprietary or open source software is involved,” he said in a statement on Monday.
Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 600 licensing agreements with companies like Apple, HP, Samsung and LG Electronics.