Microsoft Tells Device Makers, We'll Foot Your Legal Bills - InformationWeek
Software // Enterprise Applications
09:29 PM
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

Microsoft Tells Device Makers, We'll Foot Your Legal Bills

Says it will lift all caps on legal fees it will pay against intellectual property lawsuits.

Amid a legally charged environment for makers of mobile computing devices, Microsoft said Thursday it would expand the protections against intellectual property lawsuits it offers to manufacturers who make devices that run Windows.

Microsoft lifted caps on the amount of legal fees it would reimburse to makers of embedded devices that are sued for intellectual property infringement as a result of licensing Microsoft code. The amount had previously been capped based on Microsoft's volume of business with a device maker that licensed its embedded operating systems. Microsoft also said it would indemnify device makers against trade-secrets lawsuits, in addition to patent, copyright, and trademark suits. The software company also expanded its indemnification program for licensees of its embedded operating systems to all countries, including China and India.

"In the past, we were conservative," says David Kaefer, Microsoft's director of business development for IP and licensing. Now, "if a partner is sued, we're picking up the full defense cost tab." Last June, Microsoft removed caps on legal fees it would reimburse to PC makers that were the subject of intellectual property lawsuits resulting from their use of Microsoft software.

Makers of mobile computing devices are closely watching two patent infringement cases in their market. NTP Inc., a patent holding company in Virginia, has sued wireless E-mail device maker Research In Motion for allegedly infringing on seven of its patents, threatening to shutter RIM's popular BlackBerry E-mail service in the United States. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last week rejected all of NTP's claims, but a hearing with a federal judge in Richmond, Va., to consider an injunction on the service is scheduled for Feb. 24. "After the BlackBerry [case] happened, so many companies have gone back to the drawing board to renew their patents," says Siddharth Mehta, an associate at Menlo Park, Calif., law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, who works on U.S.-India transactions and venture funding.

Two weeks ago, mobile E-mail vendor Visto Corp., sued Good Technology charging it infringed on at least four of its patents for synchronizing business data with mobile devices. Visto also sued Microsoft in December.

According to Microsoft's Kaefer, stricter requirements for companies to disclose risks related to their intellectual property portfolios under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has contributed to CIOs' heightened attention to managing intellectual property. Microsoft's expanded indemnity for device makers also positions Windows more favorably in the market against Linux and other embedded operating systems, Kaefer says.

In other news Thursday, Microsoft said it acquired FutureSoft Inc.'s DynaComm i:filter product for blocking employees' access to Web sites that contain pornography, gambling, and spyware from corporate PCs. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is scheduled to speak at a computer security conference in San Jose, Calif., next week.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
[Interop ITX 2017] State Of DevOps Report
[Interop ITX 2017] State Of DevOps Report
The DevOps movement brings application development and infrastructure operations together to increase efficiency and deploy applications more quickly. But embracing DevOps means making significant cultural, organizational, and technological changes. This research report will examine how and why IT organizations are adopting DevOps methodologies, the effects on their staff and processes, and the tools they are utilizing for the best results.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll