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In a move to reduce suspicions from customers of advantageously utilising their markets, Microsoft are letting firms they collaborate with keep patent and design rights to the technology they use in ventures together.
This move is part of a new initiative on intellectual property (IP), an attempt to calm down concerns of Microsoft using knowledge of their customers' market to compete with them.
Microsoft is not the first to move into these collaborations, with many companies coming together to work on Blockchain and Cloud-based projects. Brad Smith, Microsoft's president, had this to say: "As collaboration like this between tech companies and their customers increases, so will the questions regarding who owns the patents and resulting intellectual property...
"There is growing concern that without an approach that ensures customers' own key patents to their new solutions, tech companies will use the knowledge to enter their customers' market and compete against them — perhaps even using the IP that customers helped create."
Microsoft's move is in part an attempt to jump over the legal disputes and misunderstandings that have happened in the tech industry with regard to design and patent rights. It will guarantee that customers will have patent rights so long as Microsoft is given a license to the technology.