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Microsoft settles with mouse maker

Mouse maker Primax is entering a nonexclusive licensing agreement to use Microsoft technologies after settling a patent infringement suit with the software company.

Microsoft on Wednesday announced it has reached a settlement agreement with Primax Electronics, a mouse maker the software company sued in July for patent infringement.

As part of the settlement, Primax has entered into a nonexclusive licensing agreement that covers Microsoft's patents for U2 and Tilt Wheel technology, for both past and future sales of relevant Primax products in the United States. The rest of the settlement terms are confidential.

Microsoft sued the Taiwan-based company over seven patents related to U2 technology, which allows a mouse to connect to either a PS/2 or USB port and auto detect which is being used, and TiltWheel technology, which relates to cursor movements accomplished through tilting a mouse. The suit, brought before the U.S. District Court in Northern California and the International Trade Commission, attempted to bar infringing Primax products from entering the U.S.

The software giant began licensing its patents in late 2003 and now has more than 500 licensing agreements in place. There are more than 30 licensees from the mouse and keyboard industry in the patent licensing program that covers Microsoft's U2 and Tilt Wheel. Microsoft had made repeated attempts to arrange a licensing agreement with Primax before pursuing litigation, the company said.

"IP collaboration encourages shared industry success by allowing licensees to incorporate innovative technologies, powered by Microsoft IP, into their products to provide enhanced features to their customers," said Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's vice president and deputy general counsel of intellectual property and licensing.