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Microsoft Indemnifies Partners From Intellectual Property Suits

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The software and game console company will provide uncapped coverage for legal fees and a broader range of claims protection for its partners.

Both the big OEMs and the smaller OEM system builder partners, along with OEM and independent distributors, will benefit from the IP protection being provided to them by Microsoft.

Combined, those businesses represent $18 billion USD of revenue annually to Microsoft. There have been concerns that IP disputes similar to the one brought successfully against the company by a Guatemalan programmer could spread to affect them.

Microsoft wanted to reassure its valuable partners of its commitment to protecting them in the event of future litigation. “This is a part of our ongoing efforts to respond to the requests of customers and partners. Our partners are telling us that IP issues are becoming increasingly complex, and they appreciate that Microsoft stands behind them and our products,” said Brad Smith, senior vice president and general counsel at Microsoft.

In one example, Microsoft stepped in when Lucent Technologies tried to file a patent suit against Gateway Inc. The suit concerned Gateway’s user of software from Microsoft. Microsoft believes its partners are looking for this sort of protection.

This indemnification program included protection against the four most common suits, according to Microsoft: patent, copyright, trade secret, and trademark. Microsoft will cover current and future versions of its software, and will continue to keep monetary coverage uncapped for legal defense.

Caps on damages and settlement fees for all channel partners will still be in place. Microsoft provides more information about the program on its Get The Facts web site.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Microsoft Indemnifies Partners From Intellectual Property Suits
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