updated 02:06 pm EDT, Mon August 13, 2012
Deal involves 'anticloning' agreement
Apple is licensing some of its iOS design patents to Microsoft, the company revealed today during its ongoing trial versus Samsung. A Reuters reporter comments that the information came by way of Boris Teksler, Apple's director of patent licensing and strategy, who explained that the deal also contains an "anticloning" agreement. Ian Sherr, a reporter for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, elaborates that the design patents are covered under a cross-licensing agreement the companies have set up.
Cloning is at the heart of the current lawsuit, since Samsung is accused of copying some iOS design traits in its Android-based devices. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs infamously called Android "stolen," and promised to go to "thermonuclear war" over the issue. Microsoft appears to have consciously avoided mimicking iOS in versions of Windows made for phones and tablets.
Apple may also be hesitant to get into more legal battles with Microsoft, since the two corporations have a long history including an infamous case in which Apple unsuccessfully tried to sue Microsoft for copying the Lisa and Mac OS interfaces. At one point Xerox also became entangled in the case, since it charged that Apple's work was itself plagiarized. The court ultimately dismissed Xerox's complaint, however.