European Companies Gain Value Through Intellectual Property Licensing

Microsoft Corp announced that eight European technology companies have licensed intellectual property (IP) to be built into products produced in France, Italy, Norway and the UK. These licensing transactions provide new market opportunities to growing European technology companies by providing access to cutting-edge technologies and reducing overall research and development costs for their products.

The licensees recognise the growing value of intellectual property within the European market. The technologies, developed by Microsoft Research, include "Audio Watermarking & Identification". "Mobile Video Optimization" and "Detours".

"Intellectual property generated by Microsoft can turn into opportunity for others," said Louis Carbonneau, general manager for the Intellectual Property Licensing Group of Microsoft. "These technologies represent several years of innovation done by world-class computer science researchers. While Microsoft Research is constantly moving the state-of-the-art forward throughout its various labs, these companies are turning those cutting-edge technologies into useful products."

Through the development of these licensing agreements, Microsoft's technology both improved the technology solutions designed by these companies and helped the companies bring their products to market faster with lower development costs. Blucasa Srl, a start-up in Italy, is licensing the Mobile Video Optimization technology developed in Microsoft Research Asia to optimise the speed of a mobile device so that it can better receive video communications. This means that on a device with low bandwidth, Mobile Video Optimization video will have clearer shape, smoother motion and shorter delays than conventional video technologies. Mobile Video Optimization is integrated with Microsoft(R) .NET Messenger Service on PCs, Pocket PCs, Handheld PCs and smartphones.

"Due to our licensing transaction with Microsoft, we are able to quickly integrate differentiating features to Blucasa's home automation solution. Collaborating with Microsoft accelerates our time-to-market momentum," said Carlo Orsi, CEO of Blucasa.

Curbing Piracy and Enabling Opportunity

The Audio Watermarking & Identification technology will be licensed to Harper Security Consulting AS of Norway to help its forensic tracking of digitally distributed content. The technology being licensed consists of digital audio watermarking and fingerprinting software tools that provide for the marking and decoding of audio files. The tool set both injects additional data into audio files (the watermark) and also extracts that same data out of copies of those audio files. The technology is inaudible to human ears, but extremely resistant to distortion and collusion if its removal is attempted.

"Licensing this innovative technology, developed in Microsoft's Redmond research lab, was a unique opportunity for a small start-up company like ours and it has enabled Harper Security to rapidly develop a new application and service to assist audio content owners to better track and follow up on unauthorised activities and ultimately help curb piracy," said Valery Pryamikov, co-founder of Harper Security.

Microsoft's Commitment to Licensing Technology

In addition to the Audio Watermarking & Identification and Mobile Video Optimization licensing deals, Microsoft also signed six more licensing deals across Europe, with companies such as Sophos Plc of the UK and InfoVista SA of France, involving Detours technology to expand systems' functionality. Other UK companies licensing this technology include AppSense Ltd, SmartPeak, BioObservation System Ltd (PixAlert) and MSoft Ltd.

These licensing agreements made over the past few months, in addition to the nearly 200 signed over the last three years, demonstrate the value of intellectual property and Microsoft's efforts through its IP licensing programme launched in December 2003. The programme was developed to enable access to the opportunities created by Microsoft's significant R&D investments in developing new innovations, and is frequently updated with new technology offerings available globally.

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