SAP, patent firm Intellectual Ventures reach license pact

Intellectual Ventures, run by a former Microsoft CTO, recently sued other tech vendors, including Symantec

SAP has signed a long-term licensing deal with Intellectual Ventures that will grant it access to IV's patent portfolio, the companies announced Thursday.

IV was formed by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold and has spent billions acquiring patents in recent years.

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It has successfully struck licensing deals with a variety of vendors, but last month, filed intellectual property suits against nine companies, including Symantec and McAfee. SAP's deal with IV would seem to head off any similar litigation.

The pact will deliver "significant value" for SAP, said Naomi Abe Voegtli, vice president of IP strategy and standards, in a statement.

Under the arrangement, SAP will gain "access to invention rights they can use in their continued development of innovative products," said IV general manager Joe Chernesky in a statement.

Further information on the deal, including its financial terms, was not disclosed.

IV has acquired more than 30,000 "intellectual property assets" across a wide range of technologies, and is adding thousands more per year, according to its website. Companies that work with it can benefit from access to the patent portfolio, both as a legal hedge and a source of innovation, according to the company.

Besides SAP, in recent months IV has signed patent deals with HTC and Samsung. IV has earned roughly $2 billion from license agreements, according to the company.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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