AOL is selling more than 800 patents to Microsoft for $1.056 billion in cash. AOL will retain patents related to advertising, search, social networking, content generation and management, mapping and others, and Microsoft will license 300 more patents.
Those 300 additional patents and patent applications will be non-exclusive to Microsoft, however. As part of the deal, AOL has been granted a license to the patents it has sold to Microsoft.
“The agreement with Microsoft represents the culmination of a robust auction process for our patent portfolio,” said Tim Armstrong, AOL’s Chairman and CEO. “We continue to hold a valuable patent portfolio as highlighted by the license we entered into with Microsoft. The combined sale and licensing arrangement unlocks current dollar value for our shareholders and enables AOL to continue to aggressively execute on our strategy to create long-term shareholder value.”
Part of what AOL is selling (at a loss) is the underlying patents for the old Netscape browser, AllThingsD reported. The Envision IP blog also reviewed 700 of AOL’s patents believed to be up for grabs prior to the sale.
Is Microsoft planning something against Google with its new arsenal of patents? Microsoft and Google do have a history of battling over patents.
Patent disputes aren’t limited to Google and Microsoft. Facebook, a partner of Microsoft, has also recently been trading lawsuits with Yahoo over assorted social networking and advertising patents.