The Apple-Samsung patent litigation trial has covered some interesting territory in recent weeks, but one of the most surprising revelations may be the disclosure of a previously unknown strategy involving Microsoft.
According to CNET, Apple patent licensing director Boris Teksler raised a few eyebrows in the courtroom this week as he referenced a behind-the-scenes arrangement by which his company offered Microsoft access to some of its mobile device design and feature patents.
"All these patents are in Apple's unique user experience, and not ones we would license," Teksler testified. "There's peace to each other's products; there's a clear acknowledgement that there's no cloning."
The portion of Apple's portfolio that addresses its mobile user experience has become one of the central discussion points in its case against Samsung. According to Reuters, Samsung rebuffed a licensing deal similar to the one Apple presented to Microsoft, deciding instead to pursue its claim that the iPhone and iPad infringed on some of its wireless technology patents.
In a separate subtext, it's worth noting that the Microsoft arrangement was likely enacted before the company expressed its desire to become a mobile hardware manufacturer for the first time. As Microsoft's Surface tablet hits shelves later this year, it will be interesting to see what, if any, impact access to Apple blueprints had on the development process.