As Apple employees testify in the Apple-Samsung trial in San Diego, interesting details continue to emerge from the testimonies. Today, Apple’s patent licensing director, Boris Teksler revealed in court that a few of Apple’s iOS design patents have been licensed to Microsoft on an “anti-cloning” condition.
The context of the revelation was Apple trying to show that they were indeed in favor of an amicable settlement to the conflicts that arose due to Samsung’s design similarities with Apple.
Teksler noted that Apple and Microsoft have a cross-license agreement that does cover the design patents at issue in this case, but said that there are also special “anti-cloning” provisions in the agreement between those two companies.
“We couldn’t copy each other’s products,” Teksler said.
Apple’s decision to license its design patents to Microsoft was consistent with its corporate strategy, Teksler said, because the agreement prohibited Microsoft from manufacturing copies.
“There was no right with respect to these design patents to build clones of any type,” Teksler said
Back in 2010, before the two companies brought their issues in court, Apple offered Samsung a license to its patent portfolio, which the Korean company refused.
Microsoft recently stepped into the full-fledged hardware business with the Surface tablets, and such patent agreements would help it stay clear of any legal troubles. Since Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are substantially different from iOS in terms of the user interface, Microsoft can almost never create an outright clone of Apple’s devices.