Microsoft Settles InterTrust Patent Dispute

By Agence France-Presse Microsoft Corp. agreed to pay $440 million to InterTrust Technologies to settle a dispute over anti-piracy technology for digital music and video, the firms announced April 12. It was Microsoft's second major settlement announcement in 10 days, following a $1.6 billion payment to rival software developer Sun Microsystems Inc. to end a bitter antitrust and patent wrangle. "The agreement resolves all outstanding litigation between the two companies," Santa Clara, Calif.-based InterTrust said in a statement. In this latest deal, Microsoft purchased a comprehensive license to use InterTrust's patents for "digital rights management (DRM)" -- technology to control the use of digital music and video. The deal means people can use Microsoft products and services without requiring a license from InterTrust. Software developers, too, who build products using Microsoft platform technology will not require an InterTrust license for normal use. "When crafting this agreement we had two goals: First, we wanted to make sure our customers could continue to use Microsoft products as they are intended to be used; and second, we wanted to make sure that our industry partners could continue to build great products that utilize the DRM functionality in our platform offerings," said Microsoft client business official Will Poole. "We think the agreement achieves both these goals." Microsoft and InterTrust said the deal would lead to a mushrooming in the use of DRM technology, which can limit copying of digital media such as music and video. "This is an important agreement in that it reduces uncertainty for the industry and will ultimately speed the development of comprehensive DRM solutions for customers and partners," Poole said. The Microsoft-InterTrust agreement was reached April 3, Intertrust said. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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