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Microsoft, Nikon release shutter on patents

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Microsoft has inked a cross-licensing patent deal with camera maker Nikon.

Under the agreement, the two companies get access to the other’s patents. It covers Nikon digital cameras and other consumer products both firms manufacture and sell.

However, Microsoft and Nikon haven’t announced which products and features would benefit from the patent deal, other than to mention existing collaboration efforts between the two on wireless cameras and RAW processing technologies.

Financial terms were kept secret, but the parties indicated that Microsoft – perhaps better known for the number of patent disputes it's entangled in – will be compensated by Nikon.

“The companies believe that this patent cross-licensing agreement will substantially benefit customers of consumer products including digital cameras,” Microsoft and Nikon said in a joint statement yesterday. “Both parties will be able to innovate openly with each other’s technologies, enabling new features and products to come to market.”

The move is Microsoft’s latest effort to be seen to be playing nice with other tech movers and shakers by wedging the door open on some of its intellectual property. ®

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