Salesforce and Microsoft Settle CRM Patent Lawsuit
Today, Microsoft and Salesforce announced that they have settled their patent dispute.
As part of the agreement, both sides will receive product coverage from the other’s patent portfolio. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, though Microsoft says that Salesforce will be paying them for licenses to use its patented technology.
Microsoft had originated the lawsuit back in May against Salesforce’s online CRM service. Microsoft appears to have warned Salesforce of the infringement allegation a year before. In response to Microsoft original suit, Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff had described Microsoft as a patent troll. “Every thriving economy has alley thugs, and we do, too, and that’s fine,” said Benioff. “Personally, I’m just disappointed to see this from a former leader of our industry, but it’s imminently resolvable, and it’s not material to our day-to-day business.”
Salesforce countersued in June, employing the services of attorney David Boies, who had represented the U.S. Department of Justice in the antitrust case made against Microsoft in the 1990s.
Publicly, both sides are content with the agreement. “We are pleased to reach this agreement with Salesforce.com to put an end to the litigation between our two companies,” said Harcio Gutierrez, a deputy general counsel at Microsoft. “Today’s agreement is an example of how companies can compete vigorously in the marketplace while respecting each other’s intellectual property rights.”
“Salesforce.com is pleased to put this litigation behind us,” said Jane Hynes, Salesforce.com representative.
The two companies have been competitors in the CRM industry as well as in cloud platforms with Microsoft’s Azure and Salesforce’s Force.com.