We first noticed Microsoft’s IP Ventures program last April when they sold some social networking technology to startup Wallop Inc. for a stake in the company. The admirable objective is to profit from technologies that Microsoft has developed but has no current use for, and late last night another deal was announced:
Tomorrow at the Business of Innovation conference, Microsoft Corp. will announce it has licensed technology, code-named “TouchLight,” which it developed in its Redmond, Wash., research lab, to EON Reality Inc., a leading interactive visual content-management software provider. The technology will augment EON’s visualization offerings with its cutting-edge ability for users to physically interact with 3-D visual content. Completed as part of Microsoft’s IP Ventures program, an initiative that allows companies to refine and sell early-stage technologies first developed by Microsoft, the agreement is the latest based on a shared-success business model that fosters opportunity for startup companies in California and other technology hubs around the world.
EON Reality will incorporate the “TouchLight” interactive display technology into its existing commercial, automotive, aerospace and defense industry product lines. EON’s customers will be able to use the technology for dynamic marketing displays, product demonstrations and truly interactive training experiences. Within the next two years, EON estimates that the technology will be used in stores to facilitate advanced shopping experiences and interactive technical support with products and assemblies appearing to float in the air during interaction. EON estimates that within the next 24 to 36 months this technology could be affordable enough for desktops. Interested parties can view a demonstration of the technology at http://www.eonreality.com/video/touchlight/touchlight.wmv.
Per Ina Fried at CNET:
Microsoft is not taking an equity stake in Eon and will get licensing payments only when Eon has sales from a product using TouchLight. Other financial details were not disclosed.
And from the AP:
David Harnett, senior director of Microsoft IP Ventures, said the license is perpetual as long as certain milestones are met. Specific financial terms were not disclosed.
The deal allows Microsoft to also license the technology to others or use it in-house for other products.
Harnett said Microsoft has completed between 10 and 15 similar licensing pacts since launching a division devoted to such deals in May 2005.
The latter might be an interesting list. Here’s the original IP Ventures press release from May 2005 and the IP Ventures home page has more including an online catalog of available IP.