WSJ.com - Microsoft Plans Licensing Venture To Boost Revenue: "Microsoft Corp. will start a new program to license technology to small companies and venture capitalists as part of a broader long-term effort to increase its revenue flowing from its patent portfolio.
The Redmond, Wash., software maker plans to initially offer to license 20 technologies developed by Microsoft in fields that include artificial intelligence, computer security and graphics.
Microsoft executives point to the success International Business Machines Corp. has had in generating billions of dollars in revenue from its patents. In 2003 Microsoft hired a former patent specialist and IBM veteran to help rework its patent strategy.
David Kaefer, a director in Microsoft's intellectual property and licensing group, said he doesn't expect patent licensing will be a big business for Microsoft. Rather it can help offset payments the company makes for outside intellectual property.
Microsoft in 2004 spent $1.4 billion acquiring patent rights from other companies, Mr. Kaefer said."