Workgroup Server Protocol Program (WSPP)

The Microsoft Workgroup Server Protocol Program (WSPP) provides a set of detailed technical documents for protocols (including extensions to industry-standard or other published protocols) that are used by Microsoft Windows Server operating systems (including Windows NT Server 4.0, Windows 2000 Server Standard Edition, Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2) to provide file and print and user and group administration services to Windows workgroup networks (including Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1). The WSPP technical specifications are listed and available here.

Patent License Agreement

The patents that cover the WSPP technical specifications are available via the WSPP License Agreement (PDF file). The patents available under this program are composed of those patents that cover protocols that perform certain file, print, and user and group administration server tasks and scenarios. Pricing for each of the tasks or scenarios is provided in Tables A1 and A2 of the WSPP Patent Agreement.

The WSPP License Agreement also includes the following benefits at no additional charge:

  • Optional Technical Account Manager (TAM) to help resolve documentation questions;

  • Optional viewing rights to Windows source code to assist with implementing the protocols; and

  • Access to plugfests and interoperability labs.

Licensing Flexibility: Microsoft is committed to working constructively and in a spirit of good faith to craft appropriate royalties and customized licenses that may depart from programmatic offerings to address the needs of a particular licensee.

Contacts: If you have questions about the WSPP patent license, please email the IP Licensing Team.

Patent Map

To assist in determining whether a patent license may be beneficial, Microsoft identifies patents and patent applications that read on the protocols.

For more information, visit Patents.

Patent Pledges

Microsoft has made patent pledges with respect to:

  • Patent rights that have not been disclosed on the patent maps listed above.

  • Implementation of the WSPP protocols by certain open source developers.

For more information, see "The Microsoft Patent Pledges for Implementations of Microsoft Workgroup Server Protocol Program Technical Specifications," below.

Warranty Agreement

Microsoft has also made available a warranty under the WSPP Warranty Agreement. Under this agreement, Microsoft warrants the technical specifications that fall within WSPP.

Background Information

Microsoft designed the Workgroup Server Protocol Program (WSPP) to meet the obligation to make protocol technology available to relevant parties and to allow the use of Microsoft technology in the manner required in the European Commission Decision issued on March 24, 2004, relating to a proceeding under Article 82 of the EC Treaty (Case COMP/C-3/37.792-Microsoft).

The Microsoft Patent Pledges for Implementations of Microsoft Workgroup Server Protocol Program Technical Specifications

Covered Specifications

These promises apply individually to each of these specifications:

Workgroup Server Protocol Program (WSPP) technical specifications, including updates and corrections, provided by Microsoft pursuant to Article 5 of the European Commission Decision dated March 24, 2004, relating to a proceeding under Article 82 of the EC Treaty (Case COMP/C-3/37.792-Microsoft).

Patent Pledge Regarding Patent Disclosure

Microsoft irrevocably promises not to assert any Subject Patent Claims against you for making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing any implementation of a Covered Specification ("Covered Implementation"), subject to the following. This is a personal promise directly from Microsoft to you, and you acknowledge it is a condition of benefiting from it that no Microsoft rights are received from suppliers, distributors, or otherwise by any other person in connection with this promise.

"Subject Patent Claims" are those claims of Microsoft-owned or Microsoft-controlled patents that are infringed by making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing a Covered Implementation, and that are not contained in a patent or patent application that:

  1. Is listed in the current list of patents generated for the Workgroup Server Protocol Program Protocols ("WSPP") via the "Patents" mapping tool ("WSPP Patent Map") available on the Patents page.

  2. Issues from any of the pending patent applications contained in the WSPP Patent Map.

  3. Issues from an application with a priority date that is after the Effective Date of the relevant WSPP Patent Map ("New Application"), provided that Microsoft has updated the WSPP Patent Map that contains the New Application to the WSPP web site no later than 45 days after the date the New Application has been filed.

  4. Is added to the WSPP Patent Map following an update to the WSPP technical specifications that causes such patent or patent application to read upon the WSPP technical specifications, provided Microsoft has updated the WSPP Patent Map that contains such patent or patent application on the "Patents" web-page no later than 45 days after the date the updated WSPP technical specifications are made available to WSPP licensees.

  5. Issues from any continuation, continuation-in-part, or divisional that has priority based upon any of the patents described in (1), (2), (3), or (4) above.

  6. Is a reissue, renewal, substitution, re-examination, or extension of any of the patents described in (1), (2), (3), (4), or (5) above.

Subject Patent Claims also do not include any claims (i) to any underlying or enabling technology that may be used or needed to make or use a Covered Implementation or (ii) to any implementation of specifications or technologies that are merely referred to in the body of the Covered Specifications.

Microsoft acknowledges that by benefiting from this promise, you are not waiving your right to contest the validity of any of the Subject Patent Claims.

This promise is not an assurance either (i) that any Microsoft-issued Subject Patent Claims covers a Covered Implementation or is enforceable or (ii) that a Covered Implementation would not infringe on patents or other intellectual property rights of any third party. No other rights except those expressly stated in this promise shall be deemed granted, waived, or received by implication, exhaustion, estoppel, or otherwise.

Patent Pledge for Open Source Developers

Microsoft irrevocably promises not to assert any Microsoft Necessary Claims against you as an open source software developer ("You") for making, using, importing, or distributing any implementation of a Covered Specification ("Covered Implementation"), subject to the following. This is a personal promise directly from Microsoft to You, and You acknowledge it is a condition of benefiting from it that no Microsoft rights are received from suppliers, distributors, or otherwise by any other person in connection with this promise. To benefit from this promise, you must be a natural or legal person participating in the creation of software code for an open source project. An "open source project" is a software development project the resulting source code of which is freely distributed, modified, or copied pursuant to an open source license and is not commercially distributed by its participants. If You engage in the commercial distribution or importation of software derived from an open source project or if You make or use such software outside the scope of creating such software code, You do not benefit from this promise for such distribution or for these other activities.

To clarify, "Microsoft Necessary Claims" are those claims of Microsoft-owned or Microsoft-controlled patents that are necessary to implement the Covered Specification. Where a software development project has in all other respects the characteristics of an open source project, distribution among the participants of that project of source code developed by natural persons under an employment contract or by natural or legal persons under a contract to develop is not considered to be commercial distribution, and that software development project does not lose its character as an open source project merely because such distribution takes place among participants. Software is deemed to be commercially distributed within the meaning of this promise when the distributor derives revenues in connection with the distribution, such as from subscriptions, updates, or user-based connection fees or from services that are contractually required for a customer to obtain the current version and/or updates of the software product in question.

This promise is not an assurance either (i) that any of the Microsoft-issued patent claims cover a Covered Implementation or are enforceable or (ii) that a Covered Implementation would not infringe on patents or other intellectual property rights of any third party. No other rights except those expressly stated in this promise shall be deemed granted, waived, or received by implication, exhaustion, estoppel, or otherwise.