REDMOND, Wash., and BEIJING, China — Jan. 6, 2009 — Microsoft Corp. and SINA Corp. today announced a technology licensing agreement on the Chinese Couplet Generator technology — one of several cutting-edge natural language processing innovations created at Microsoft Research Asia. The licensed patents enhance SINA’s ability to deliver innovative mobile value-added services to the Chinese market.
Through the licensing agreement, Microsoft’s patented technology will be used in SINA’s new couplet service for mobile phones, which allows a mobile user to send his or her first line of couplet sentence in short message service (SMS) form to SINA’s server running Microsoft’s Chinese couplet generation engine. The engine will automatically build the second line and horizontal scroll bearing an inscription to users in the form of multimedia message service or SMS. The service will be available by Jan. 6, 2009, in time for the Chinese New Year (Jan. 26, 2009), when billions of SMS messages will be sent with New Year’s greetings. The Chinese-only couplet site can be accessed at http://bf.sina.com.cn/newbf/zt/09dl.html. SINA also plans to use Microsoft’s core technology to develop its own additional innovations, allowing the technology to be used in new and extended ways, and helping make mobile value-added services more personal, interactive and fun for consumers.
“Sharing and displaying couplets on Chinese New Year is a tradition that is thousands of years old, and we are excited that this new collaboration with Microsoft will help us bring this custom to computers and mobile phones,” said Gao-Fei Wang, vice president of SINA Corp. and general manager of SINA Mobile. “By working directly with Microsoft Research, we have been able to integrate advanced machine learning and language technology with our own innovations, expanding a Web-based technology and making it available for mobile and SMS, and delivering a service that is meaningful for our customers in China and the broader global Chinese community.”
“We are pleased that SINA has chosen to license the natural language processing technology created at Microsoft Research,” said Hsiao-Wuen Hon, managing director of Microsoft Research Asia, located in Beijing. “This agreement exemplifies our commitment to enhancing the consumer experience through intellectual property (IP) collaboration and is an important step in working more collaboratively with companies in China to help develop a more vibrant IT industry.”
Other services that will leverage Microsoft Research Asia’s couplet technology include Microsoft Spring Festival Search, which will release a series of services in China to catch the Chinese New Year wave.
Given current global economic conditions, licensing IP is good for businesses because it helps partners shorten their development cycle and increase focus on customer-related innovation. This patent licensing agreement is testament to both the quality of Microsoft’s patent portfolio and Microsoft’s commitment to working in China with China-based companies.
About Chinese Couplets
Chinese couplets are a popular type of poetry that contains two sentences and a short cross phrase. These couplets are an important part of China’s heritage.
The Chinese couplet generator from Microsoft Research helps people compose Chinese couplets using Natural Language Computing principles. Specifically, it helps generate a down scroll sentence (下联) when an up scroll sentence (上联) is input. Furthermore, after a down scroll sentence is selected from system outputs, it also can generate a hengpi (横批) based on a selection. This technology also can be used to further Chinese language learning by entertaining and engaging users.
Microsoft’s Commitment to Licensing Technology
The licensing agreement is another example of the important role IP plays in ensuring a healthy and vibrant IT ecosystem. Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 500 licensing agreements — including a recent collaboration with Chinese company Komoxo Mobile Software Inc. — and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its IP portfolio. The program was developed to open access to Microsoft’s significant research and development investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio. Over the past two years, Microsoft has entered into similar agreements with Alpine Electronics Inc., Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd., Kenwood Corp., Kyocera Mita Corp., LG Electronics, NEC Corp., Nikon Corp., Nortel Networks, Novell Inc., Olympus Corp., Onkyo USA Corp., Samsung and Seiko Epson Corp.
More information about Microsoft’s licensing programs is available at http://www.microsoft.com/ip.
About SINA Corp.
SINA Corporation (Nasdaq GS: SINA) is a leading online mobile media company and mobile value-added service provider serving China and the global Chinese communities. With a branded network of localized Web sites targeting Greater China and overseas Chinese, the company provides services through five major business lines including SINA.com (online news and content), SINA Mobile (MVAS), SINA Community (Web 2.0-based services and games), SINA.net (search and enterprise services) and SINA E-Commerce (online shopping). Together these business lines provide an array of services including region-focused online portals, MVAS, search and directory, interest-based and community-building channels, free and premium e-mail, blog services, audio and video streaming, game community services, classified listings, fee-based services, e-commerce and enterprise e-solutions.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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