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Microsoft and Salesforce.com settle patent spat

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5th Aug 2010
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Salesforce.com has agreed to pay Microsoft an undisclosed sum to settle their patent dispute and both vendors have agreed to licence each other’s intellectual property.

Microsoft sued the rival software-as-service provider for unspecified damages in May, claiming that it had infringed nine of its patents, which included technology relating to display and user interface functionality.

Salesforce then counter-sued the following month, alleging that Microsoft had, in turn, infringed five of its patents, which included technology in the software giant’s .Net application development environment and SharePoint collaboration software.

Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and deputy counsel general for intellectual property and licensing, said of yesterday’s settlement: "We are pleased to reach this agreement with Salesforce.com to put an end to the litigation between our two companies. Today’s agreement is an example of how companies can compete vigorously in the marketplace, while respecting each other’s intellectual property rights."

A spokesperson for Salesforce.com, meanwhile, told tech website CNet that it was "pleased to put this litigation behind us", although they refused to comment on whether the sum paid out in settlement would materially affect the company’s earnings.

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