Microsoft today announced a new tool called Patent Tracker in an effort to showcase its commitment to patent transparency. This new tool provides a list of all of the patents Microsoft owns. Using this Patent Tracker, anyone can obtain the list in two forms:
- (1) an online list that is searchable by patent number, patent title, country and whether the patent is held by Microsoft or a subsidiary, and
- (2) a CSV file containing the entire list that is downloadable and searchable in Microsoft Excel
Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith described this launch with the following,
Transparency around patent ownership will help prevent gamesmanship by companies that seek to lie in wait and “hold up” companies rather than enable a well-functioning secondary market. Of equal importance, transparency is a prerequisite to enforceability of patent licensing pledges, whether to standards bodies or to the world at large. Quite simply, without transparency it is impossible to determine if a company is in fact abiding by those commitments.