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Software giant Microsoft has entered into a broad patent cross-licensing agreement with Samsung Electronics.

Microsoft and Samsung Electronics have entered into a broad patent cross-licensing agreement.

Microsoft has actively sought patent agreements with a range of companies to build bridges with an array of consumer electronics, telecommunications, computer hardware, and Linux and UNIX platform providers.

Samsung Electronics was the largest publisher of US patents in 2006 and owner of one of the largest US patent portfolios.

Through the agreement, Samsung will obtain access to Microsoft patents that might be employed in a range of Samsung's existing and future product lines, such as computer products, set-top boxes, digital media players, camcorders, televisions, printers and home appliances. In these product lines, Samsung and its distributors and customers might use Microsoft's patents in Samsung's products with proprietary software, and Samsung will also obtain coverage from Microsoft for its customers' use of certain Linux-based products.

Likewise, Microsoft will gain access to Samsung's large patent portfolio relating to digital media and computer-related inventions for its existing and future products.

The specific financial terms of the agreement are confidential, but both parties will receive monetary payments compensating them for the value of their portfolios.

In the past 12 months, Microsoft has announced similar agreements with companies such as Fuji Xerox, NEC, Nortel, Novell and Seiko Epson.