A Unique History of Innovation

Microsoft innovation continues to revolutionize how people work, connect, and experience the world—and we license many of our patents and technologies to help other companies grow.

For more than 40 years Microsoft has been making big, bold bets on the future of technology. By investing more than $11 billion in research and development annually, we continue to expand the possibilities of computing and converged technologies.

Microsoft patents can be found wherever there are cutting-edge products—from PCs and smartphones, to sensor-based devices, to healthcare and industrial automation. We relentlessly seek to drive the future of innovation—for us, our partners, and our customers. We constantly look for opportunities to work with other companies, licensing our technologies and patents to help them innovate and grow.

In short, our heritage of innovation is what enables Microsoft to further its mission of empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Areas of Innovation

Microsoft is helping our licensing partners shape the future across a range of sectors, fueling the development of exciting new technology.

Powering Transformative Change

The Patent Licensing Program

Microsoft’s investments in research and development help create new and better Microsoft products, services, and experiences for the benefit of our customers.

We’re proud that this unparalleled approach makes us unique. We take an open, active stance toward licensing most of our technologies, reflected by more than 1,200 licensing agreements under commercially reasonable licensing terms with more than 700 of the world’s most dynamic and innovative companies worldwide.

Key Statistics

Infographic of key Microsoft Intellectual Property Licensing statistics

Why Work with Microsoft?

For technology companies looking to grow, or import or export internationally, it’s critical to be informed about patents. When businesses license Microsoft patents, they benefit from decades of work by researchers that can help them:

Build better products

Microsoft’s expertise is unparalleled and unique. Our established leadership and vast experience in building operating systems, productivity applications, mobile computing devices, speech and vision technologies, user interfaces, gaming, file systems, communications protocols, and other technologies helps our licensing partners create the products and devices of tomorrow.

Access one of the world’s strongest patent portfolios

Microsoft’s diverse patent portfolio is consistently ranked at the top of the technology industry. Microsoft is ranked #1 by the IEEE Spectrum Patent Power Scorecards in Computer Software1.

Find freedom to innovate

A license from Microsoft gives companies peace of mind and a platform for developing their own products.

Surpassing Technological Limits

At Microsoft, we believe our greatest advancements are still ahead. From software and mobile computing to quantum computing and AI, to virtual and augmented reality, we are a leader in transforming technology. Our Research Centers showcase some of the ways we are surpassing the limits of today’s technology.

Learn More about Patent Licensing

Contact a licensing executive to discuss obtaining a license

Learn more about the process of obtaining a license

Engage Microsoft with my business proposal

Microsoft has established a comprehensive review process to evaluate third-party business proposals. The Opportunity Management Center (OMC) provides you a safe and effective way to engage Microsoft with your business proposal and ensures you receive timely feedback and relevant resources. The OMC site is designed to help you efficiently submit a business proposal for consideration by Microsoft.

Open Specifications Licensing Programs

To facilitate interoperability with its most popular products, Microsoft licenses the patents that cover technical specifications for the protocols used to communicate with those products, its most popular binary file formats, and key standards and languages that are implemented in certain Microsoft products. Visit Open Specifications Licensing Programs for details.

IP Licensing Policy

View Microsoft’s IP Licensing policy to learn about it and how it applies to academics, software developer kits, and Microsoft's existing standards commitments.