Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has asked customers not to worry about the company helping them develop new products and then launch a competing business.
Smith, in a blog post, discussed the policy that the company has dubbed Shared Innovation Initiative. The company has pledged that any design or patent rights which result from a collective work agreement will remain with the customer and not Microsoft.
In a post referring to intellectual property, Smith admitted that there are growing concerns and fears that without proper guild lines to make sure that customers retain important patents and rights to their new innovations, many tech companies will end up using the knowledge and invade the customer’s market and launch competition with them.
Financial companies, retailers and automakers are using cloud computing, artificial intelligence and data analysis to launch new products, which exposes them to stiff patent competitions prevalent in the tech industry. Microsoft hopes to use its new policy to position itself as an enticing choice compared to its rivals like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Alphabet Inc Class C (NASDAQ: GOOG)
’Something in Writing’
According to Patrick Moorhead, the president of Moor Insights & Strategy, a consulting company and who was briefed by Microsoft about the new policy, the company is trying to set itself aside from its rivals by having something in writing, something that many of its competitors don’t have. He added that many companies don’t have the experience with licensing and patent rights and having a clear policy will assist in getting rid of problems that may abound down the road. He noted that failure to have a clear policy will lead to unending arguments and lawsuits.
Microsoft has cited the example of a South Korean hospital, which co-created a motion-tracking AI application, which collects data on the movement of the hands of a surgeon’s hands during an operation so as to identify possible misstep by use of sensors. The hospital intends to sell a training program and the software to other hospitals hence creating a new money stream.
According to Smith, such partnerships between tech companies and their customers are on the rise hence several questions regarding on patent rights will arise.