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Apple Licensed iPhone and iPad Patents to Microsoft

Apple Licensed iPhone and iPad Patents to Microsoft

Testifying in the Apple vs. Samsung trial, Apple patent licensing director Boris Teksler said that the company had licensed a set of patents to Microsoft, but was unable to reach a similar agreement with Samsung, despite its efforts in October 2010.


Teksler said he could “count on one hand” the number of times Apple had licensed its prize patents to other companies, making its offer to negotiate a patent portfolio license to Samsung noteworthy.

Among the few companies to ever license Apple’s patents were Microsoft, but there was no right with respect to these design patents to build clones of any type,” Teksler testified. He noted that the agreement prohibited Microsoft from building devices that used iPhone and iPad patent designs.

“All these patents are in Apple’s unique user experience, and not ones we would license,” Teksler said during the redirect portion of his testimony. Saying the Apple-Microsoft cross-license covers design patents, he added that Apple added “special prohibitions” in the form of an anti-cloning provision.

“There’s peace to each other’s products; there’s a clear acknowledgement that there’s no cloning,” he said.

Neither Apple nor Microsoft have disclosed the details of their cross-licensing agreement in public, which is common in deals such as theirs. Although, some information could leak out as a result of this case, given that Apple and Samsung have had to open up previously “secret” information to each other.

Microsoft is now working to release a tablet it has dubbed “Surface” to challenge the iPad. Their decision has not only irritated Microsoft’s hardware partners, but may cause problems with Apple’s “no clones” restriction in the patent licensing agreement between the companies.