Apple has licensed design patents to Microsoft-exec

Aug 13, 2012, 12:52 PM EDT

By Dan Levine and Edwin Chan

SAN JOSE, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Apple Inc licensed itsprized design patents to Microsoft Corp but with an"anti-cloning agreement" to prevent copying of its iPhone andiPad, an Apple executive said on Monday.

The testimony from Apple patent licensing director BorisTeksler came in one of the most closely watched technologytrials in years. Apple is accusing Samsung Electronics Co Ltd of copying its iPhone and iPad, while the Koreancompany says Apple infringes several of its wireless technologypatents.

Apple had reached out to Samsung in 2010, hoping to strikean agreement with its rival on patent licensing before theirdispute hit the courts.

Teksler testified that Apple offered a clutch of patents forlicensing but, crucially, viewed patents related to what hecalled the "unique user experience" as a highly protectedcategory.

Those included design patents at issue in the lawsuit,covering the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad. Teksler toldjurors last week he could count on "on one hand" the instancesApple has licensed those patents.

Negotiations between Apple and Samsung did not produce alicensing agreement, and Apple filed a lawsuit in federal courtin San Jose, California, in April 2011.

Apple's decision to license its design patents to Microsoftwas consistent with its corporate strategy, Teksler said,because the agreement prohibited Microsoft from manufacturingcopies.

"There was no right with respect to these design patents tobuild clones of any type," Teksler said.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District ofCalifornia, is Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al,No. 11-1846.