Recently we have heard about Microsoft and Google agreeing to end a five-year battle over patents. The truce was described in a joint statement where the companies said “Microsoft and Google are pleased to announce an agreement on patent issues… As part of the agreement, the companies will dismiss all pending patent infringement litigation between them… Separately, Google and Microsoft have agreed to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers.”
Today, these software giants have thousands of patents to their name, but do you know the earliest US granted patents where Google or Microsoft are listed as the Assignee on the face of the patent?
Google: US patent number US6526440B1 for “Ranking search results by reranking the results based on local inter-connectivity”. Publication date February 25, 2003.
Microsoft: US patent number US 4,588,074 for a “Holder for storing and supporting articles”. Publication date May 13, 1986.
Note that this does not include patents in another jurisdiction (non-U.S.) or patents as a result of mergers or acquisitions.