Intellectual property is a strategic asset that provides significant value to Microsoft and its customers and partners. With an annual R&D budget of over $9 billion, Microsoft is among the top investors in innovation worldwide. Our patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets result from our investments in developing innovative software, devices and services that help over a billion people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential. Microsoft’s worldwide portfolio of over 35,000 issued patents is consistently rated at the top of the industry by experts. Windows and Microsoft Office are arguably the two most successful copyrighted works in history. And Microsoft is consistently ranked as one of the most highly-valued brand portfolios in the world, reflecting the significant impact of our strong trademarks.
We also strive to be a responsible leader in the IP ecosystem by actively engaging with governments, industry and others in IP policy discussions, with a focus on creating sustainable environments for future innovation and creativity. We are at the forefront of a strong anti-piracy effort that both educates and protects consumers and targets the criminal organizations that are doing so much harm to end-users and local economies. And, over the last several years, Microsoft has entered into well over a thousand licensing agreements, allowing start-ups, customers, partners, and even competitors to use Microsoft’s innovations in their own businesses.