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Autodesk and Microsoft have signed a cross-licensing agreement that will give each company broader access to the other's patent portfolio. Terms of the deal, which is reported to have taken six months to hammer out, were kept under wraps.

The two companies already have a close working relationship, Autodesk said, with many products being "tightly integrated". The deal expands the scope of their co-operation into new areas including data management, digital effects, digital rights management, computer-aided design and location-based services.

Brad Smith, general counsel for Redmond's most famous exporter, said the deal was good for customers of both companies because it expanded each company's reach on "commercially reasonable terms".

"Intellectual property licensing is a cornerstone of today's software industry and is essential for the development of comprehensive technology solutions," he added.

This agreement is part of a larger effort from Microsoft to extend its intellectual property portfolio. The company has several other cross-licensing deals already signed, including agreements with Cisco, SAP and Siemens. According to CNET, it is currently in talks with more than ten other companies, and wants to sign up to 30 more deals over the next five years. ®

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