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Microsoft inks IP licensing exFAT deal with Panasonic

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Microsoft has dropped yet another Intellectual Property deal into its bulging patent bag, this time in an agreement with Panasonic over its use of its Extended File Allocation Table, aka exFAT, format.

Financial terms were kept characteristically quiet in what is Microsoft's second IP handshake in the past week, following a cross-licence patent pact with Amazon on Monday.

Under the agreement Microsoft will grant Panasonic access to its exFAT file system.

“This agreement with Panasonic is the most recent example of our commitment to licensing cutting-edge intellectual property to drive innovation across the industry," said the software vendor's IP licensing boss David Kaefer in a statement on Thursday.

In December last year Microsoft said it had agreed deals with Sony, Canon, Sanyo and SanDisk to licence the format. For that privilege, camera, camcorder and digital photo frame makers are charged a flat $300,000 licence fee.

Meanwhile, phone, PC and network vendors that want to use the format in their devices will have to cough up a volume-licence fee.

In August 2009 Microsoft inked an intellectual property licensing deal with Linux software vendor Tuxera Ltd when the exFAT program proper got underway.

Earlier that year, Microsoft signed an IP licensing deal with TomTom, after the companies exchanged legal threats in court over patents related to the FAT formats. The pair eventually agreed to play nice, much to the disappointment to some in the open source world. ®

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