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Microsoft inks patent deal with yet another car tech firm

DENSO falls into cross-licensing line

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Microsoft scored yet another patent licensing deal yesterday, this time with automotive tech firm DENSO Corp.

Redmond said the agreement, financial terms of which were kept secret, “builds on” prior patent deals struck with Alpine Electronics, Pioneer and TomTom.

“Although the details of the agreement have not been disclosed, the parties indicated that Microsoft is being compensated by DENSO. No technology is being licensed or exchanged as part of the agreement,” said the software vendor.

In addition Microsoft will be granted access to DENSO patents.

As Microsoft noted, the deal is the latest in a series of similar patent agreements with car tech firms. Of course the accord with TomTom came only after a brief legal tit-for-tat between the two companies last year.

By March 2009 Microsoft and TomTom settled patent infringement suits they had tossed at each other, by inking a five-year agreement in which the GPS maker began paying the software giant for coverage under five car navigation and three file management patents.

Famously, Microsoft's original court allegations over the three file management patents involved TomTom's use of the Linux kernel, and according to Redmond at the time the settlement provided TomTom with coverage under those three patents in a way that was compliant with TomTom's obligations under the General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2). ®

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