Microsoft Corp. has reached a patenting milestone by logging its 5,000th patent granted in the United States. Patent no. 6,999,083 provides for technologies that allow people to not just play video games against each other online, but to join the game as a spectator from anywhere in the world. The patent, which covers technologies that will be featured in Xbox 360™ games, brings new innovation to online gaming by allowing consumers to tune into a video game much as they would a sporting event broadcast. Obtaining its 5,000th U.S. patent marks Microsoft’s progress in developing innovations and opening the doors over the past three years to its multibillion-dollar research and development efforts.
Since its public commitment to patent and intellectual property (IP) licensing in December 2003, Microsoft is following the industry examples of other long-time patent licensors such as IBM Corp., with its portfolio of over 25,000 U.S. patents, and other giants such as HP, Intel Corporation, Samsung and Sony.
By patenting its IP and making its existing library of patents and IP broadly available through licensing to businesses of all sizes, the company can reinvest the proceeds in research and development and continue the pursuit of innovation. The patents that Microsoft has obtained to date — over 7,000 worldwide — represent potential fuel for further innovation. Microsoft continues to strive toward its goal of filing for 3,000 patents per year, which, according to a study by the National Research Council of the National Academies, is consistent with the average for information technology companies of filing about two patents for every $1 million spent on research and development.
It’s no secret that Microsoft has been making a strong patent push and aside from the usual protection aspects of patents, licensing can provide a substantial revenue stream while cross licensing with other patent holders can prevent significant expense. All of which says a major technology company needs a large patent portfolio.
There’s more on the 5,000th patent itself by following the link and you can view it yourself here. If you are interested in keeping up with the patent activity of the major technology companies like Microsoft and the others named above, let me suggest another of Hunter Strategies’ web sites, LatestPatents.com. As an example of what is there, here is a link to all the patents granted and assigned to Microsoft along with the 5,000th patent on February 14.