Microsoft: We won't use "essential patents" to block our competitors

Microsoft has been making deals with a number of companies that make Android-based smartphone and tablets, including most recently with LG. However, the company announced today that it would not attempt to block a competitor from using what Microsoft calls "essential patents".

In its statement, Microsoft said it supports and contributes to industry standards, saying, "Industry standards are vitally important to the development of the Internet and to interoperability among mobile devices and other computers."

Microsoft said that it will " ... always adhere to the promises it has made to standards organizations to make its standard essential patents available on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms." It added, "Microsoft will not seek an injunction or exclusion order against any firm on the basis of those essential patents."

Microsoft also pledged to license these "essential patents" to other companies without any requirements that those companies license those patents back to Microsoft " ... except for any patents they have that are essential to the same industry standard."

In a related blog post, Microsoft VP Dave Heiner stated that Internet users have received great benefits from international PC and Internet standards such as connecting to a WiFi network, watching a video and more. Companies like Microsoft offer up their patented software and products for all companies to use if they are "essential" to making a standard software or hardware device work.

Heiner claims that sometimes a company will try to insist on other companies to pay for their patents that have already been set up as part of Internet standards. He states:

Once a standard like H.264 or 802.11 is widely adopted, firms have no choice but to implement the standard in their products. Would you buy a smartphone, an iPad or a personal computer that couldn’t play video or connect to wireless networks? Probably not.

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