Microsoft patent deal to boost home entertainment

21 Mar 2008

Microsoft and Japanese company Onkyo have signed a broad patent cross-licensing agreement that will enable significant technological innovation in high-quality home entertainment systems.

Onkyo is a manufacturer of home audiovisual products and has in 2007 built on its core strength in analog technology through its acquisition of Japan-based PC manufacturer SOTEC. The company has recently been developing personal computers integrated with high-quality audio capabilities.

The agreement between Microsoft and Onkyo covers a broad range of consumer products and allows greater mutual access to each partner’s respective patent portfolio. Although specific financial terms of the agreement are confidential, the parties indicated that Onkyo will provide compensation to Microsoft.

The intellectual property collaboration will contribute to the production of high-quality hardware and versatile software technology. It is intended the agreement will further promote seamless integration and accelerate innovation in consumer audiovisual electronics, personal computing and home theatre custom installation markets.

“When industry leaders collaborate through intellectual property licensing, we foster greater innovation that will benefit the overall IT ecosystem,” said Horacio Gutierrez, vice-president of intellectual property and licensing at Microsoft. “We are proud of the quality of our global patent portfolio, and we look forward to continuing to work with Onkyo and other industry leaders to develop new and exciting technologies through our collaborative licensing program.”

In an additional effort to foster mutual co-operation, Onkyo has entered into the Microsoft Windows Rally programme, which will provide Onkyo with access to Microsoft technology, streamlined licensing and technical guidance for connectivity between devices and PCs.

“We’re very excited about this new collaboration with Microsoft,” said Nobuaki Okuda, executive officer of business development at Onkyo. “We think a mix of technology, communication and entertainment enables greater technology solutions. These agreements strengthen our collaborative relationship, which is of immense importance and will further help us address our customers’ needs.”

By Niall Byrne