Microsoft Interoperability Program (MIP)

The Microsoft Interoperability Program (MIP) facilitates the use and implementation of technical specifications for certain protocols, file formats, standards, and languages used or implemented in certain Microsoft products. For a list of the specifications included visit the Patent and Program Map and sort by “Program”. These specifications are published and available on Microsoft Docs at no charge (rights under Microsoft patents covering such specifications are available separately).

Patent License and Covenant Agreements

The patents that cover the MIP technical specifications are available via a patent license or a patent covenant agreement.

Patent License Agreements

Windows Client PC Operating System (including .NET Framework) Protocols Patent License Agreement (PDF file)*

Microsoft PC Productivity Applications Protocols Patent License Agreement (PDF file)

SharePoint Protocols Patent License Agreement (PDF file)

Microsoft Exchange-Outlook Protocols Patent License Agreement (PDF file)

Patent Covenant Agreements

Windows Client PC Operating System (including .NET Framework) Protocols Patent Covenant Agreement (PDF file)*

Microsoft PC Productivity Applications Protocols Patent Covenant Agreement (PDF file)

SharePoint Protocols Patent Covenant Agreement (PDF file)

Microsoft Exchange-Outlook Protocols Patent Covenant Agreement (PDF file)

* If you are interested in an agreement for the .NET Framework Protocols only, please contact the IP Licensing Team.

Licensing and Covenant Agreement Flexibility: Microsoft is committed to working constructively and in a spirit of good faith to craft appropriate royalties and customized licenses or covenant agreements that may depart from programmatic offerings to address individual company needs and circumstances.

Contacts: If you have questions about the MIP Patent License or Patent Covenant Agreements, please email the IP Licensing Team.

Patents

To assist in determining whether a patent license or patent covenant agreement may be beneficial, Microsoft identifies patents and patent applications that may cover the MIP technical specifications.

For more information, visit Patents.

Some of the patents that cover the technical specifications for Microsoft protocols, file formats, standards documentation, and XAML are available at no charge under the Open Specification Promise or the Community Promise.

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 MIP technical specifications by certain open source developers.

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

Warranty Agreement

Microsoft has also made available, under MIP, a Warranty Agreement. This Agreement warrants the MIP technical specifications and the implementation of specific standards in certain versions of Internet Explorer, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint, as well as Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Outlook.

Background Information

Microsoft designed the Microsoft Interoperability Program (MIP) to meet the agreement to make protocol, binary file formats, and languages technology along with information regarding its implementations of certain standards available to relevant parties and to allow the use of such information in the manner required in the Interoperability Undertaking entered into by Microsoft and the European Commission on December 16, 2009.

The Microsoft Patent Pledges for Implementations of Microsoft Interoperability Program Technical Specifications

Covered Specifications

These promises apply individually to each of these specifications:

Microsoft Interoperability Program (MIP) technical specifications, including updates and corrections, provided by Microsoft pursuant to the 2009 Interoperability Undertaking by Microsoft and the European Commission.

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 Microsoft Interoperability Program ("MIP") via the "Patents" mapping tool ("MIP Patent Map") available on the Patents page.

  2. Issues from any of the pending patent applications listed on the MIP Patent Map.

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

  4. Is added to the MIP Patent Map following an update to the MIP technical specifications that causes such patent or patent application to read upon the MIP technical specifications, provided Microsoft has updated the MIP Patent Map that contains such patent or patent application on the "Patents" web page no later than 45 days after the date the updated MIP technical specifications are made available to entities party to either a MIP Patent License Agreement or MIP Patent Covenant Agreement.

  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.