Microsoft is committed to responsible intellectual property management, including the creation of a healthy patent ecosystem around the world that promotes and encourages innovation. One component of a well-functioning patent system is clarity around what entity is the real party in interest for a particular patent. Increased transparency around ownership reduces the likelihood of opportunistic behavior and gamesmanship by patent holders and helps facilitate licensing.
To demonstrate our commitment to transparency, Microsoft joined with other industry leaders in the Open Register of Patent Ownership, or OroPO, in May 2015. Through OroPO, Microsoft provides a list that includes to the best of our knowledge all issued patents that Microsoft currently owns, either directly or through subsidiaries. (This project builds on our legacy Patent Tracker tool, previously established in March 2013, which included a full listing of worldwide issued patents that Microsoft had filed and prosecuted as well as patents that we had acquired over time.)
As Microsoft realigns its core functions we have also realigned our licensing and legal support by forming Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC. Continuing Microsoft's commitment to transparency, Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC will continue to make every patent it holds publicly available via OroPO.
This is a reorganization to ensure the appropriate support to business groups and streamline the management of the Microsoft patent assets. This business decision does not change the company's IP commitments or approach to litigation as a last resort. Our commitments to partners, regulators, and standards organizations will not be impacted. Microsoft and its subsidiaries remain committed to responsible intellectual property management.
You can find more information about the patents in the list in a variety of places. For a US patent, start at the US Patent and Trademark Office's general Patent Search home page and navigate to their Full-Text and Image Database, or view additional information using Public PAIR. A good resource for patents from many countries is the European Patent Office's Espacenet Patent Search site (which includes a training course). For more information about a patent from another country, contact or visit the website of the patent-granting authority in that location.