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Salesforce, Intellectual Ventures ink patent deal

The two companies have signed a deal that gives access to more than 40,000 patents. and patent aggregator Intellectual Ventures inked a new licensing deal on Friday that gives Salesforce access to some 40,000 of IV's patents.

The deal is the latest by Intellectual Ventures, a Bellevue, Wash.-based company that's made headlines for accumulating a massive trove of software and design patents, along with other intellectual property.

A major part of IV's business includes licensing patents out to other companies, which can use them for legal protection, though it's also made waves for litigating other companies.

Pricing and length of the deal were not disclosed, and a company spokesperson declined to elaborate.

Salesforce was famously sued by Microsoft over nine patents in early 2010. The spat was settled just three months later, with the two companies brokering a deal that would give them access to one another's intellectual property. The kerfuffle is relevant given Microsoft's ties to IV, which was founded by two former Microsoft executives. Microsoft is also an investor and client.

The deal comes as patent lawsuits are on the rise, especially among technology companies, and by firms that own intellectual property but do not make any products or services. Such companies, colloquially referred to as "patent trolls," launched the majority of U.S. patent cases in 2012, according to a study published last month.