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Microsoft, LG Electronics forge Linux deal

Similar to patent deals the software giant has already reached with Novell, others

Microsoft and LG Electronics have announced a patent cross-license agreement that will enable LG Electronics (LGE) to employ Linux in its products without fear of Microsoft reprisals.

The arrangement is intended to give LGE customers peace of mind over intellectual property (IP) issues.

The agreement follows a similar deal between Novell and Microsoft in which they agreed to not sue each other’s customers over IP issues. This issue has risen to the forefront lately, with Microsoft recently arguing that Linux and open source software violate 235 Microsoft patents.

Through the new agreement, LGE will be able to use Microsoft-patented “innovations” in products including Linux-based embedded devices, the companies said. Microsoft will have access to LGE patents and license other patents developed by LGE that are now owned by MicroConnect Group.

Financial terms of the arrangement were not revealed, although the vendors said Microsoft will make a net balancing payment to LGE and MicroConnect for patents related to operating systems and computer systems. LGE will make ongoing payments to Microsoft for the value of Microsoft patents as they relate to Linux-based embedded devices that LGE produces.

Microsoft earlier this week unveiled a similar arrangement with Xandros and has made deals of this type with companies such as Fuji Xerox and Samsung in the past 12 months, Microsoft and LGE said.