Microsoft will pay $440 million to settle a patent-infringement suit with Santa Clara, Calif.-based digital rights management firm InterTrust. Under the agreement, Microsoft will license InterTrust's

Microsoft will pay $440 million to settle a patent-infringement suit with Santa Clara, Calif.-based digital rights management firm InterTrust. Under the agreement, Microsoft will license InterTrust's patent portfolio, while InterTrust gets rights to design and publish reference technology specifications related to DRM under Microsoft patents.

The suit had been pending since April 2001, when InterTrust sued Microsoft in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that Microsoft's anti-piracy technology infringed its patents.

Under the settlement, Microsoft's end-user customers can use the company's products without getting a license from InterTrust. In addition, software developers that use Microsoft platform technology will not require an InterTrust license for normal and expected uses of the Microsoft technologies. However, developers, including systems integrators, may need licenses from InterTrust for other uses of Microsoft technology, including cases in which Microsoft technology is combined with third-party technology.

"Licensing InterTrust's patent portfolio reaffirms Microsoft's commitment to the importance of intellectual property rights as well as our commitment to our customers to stand behind our products in these emerging technology areas," says Marshall Phelps, deputy general counsel for Microsoft.

"Today's announcement validates InterTrust's intellectual property portfolio as seminal to advancing DRM and trusted computing in the marketplace," says Talal Shamoon, CEO of InterTrust.