Today, Microsoft and Canon have announced a patent cross-licensing agreement. The agreement will allow both companies to gain access to each other’s coveted patent portfolios. Microsoft and Canon have not unveiled the details of the agreement and what kind of patents each respective company might utilize, but it is an extension of the ongoing relationship between the two companies.
Microsoft did mention that by collaborating with Canon, it would allow them to “deliver inventive technologies that benefit consumers around the world.” Furthermore, Microsoft also believes that the collaborative approach is a far more “effective way to accelerate innovation while reducing patent disputes.”
Although this collaborative effort and agreement covers a broad range of products, it looks like digital imaging and mobile consumer products are the focus. While the terms are vague, it is possible that Microsoft's patent access could yield new digital imaging technology, that might be seen in future iterations of a Lumia or Surface line.
Since 2003, Microsoft has had a IP licensing program that has generated over 1,100 licensing agreements. The program is open to partners and competitors alike. This allows partners access to Microsoft’s research and development investments, patent and IP portfolios.