Horacio Gutiérrez is Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel in charge of the Microsoft worldwide intellectual property group. In this capacity, Mr. Gutiérrez leads the group responsible for the development, maintenance and enforcement of the company's IP portfolio, including all of its patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets worldwide. This group is also responsible for inbound and outbound patent licensing work, and for the strategy and substance on IP legal and public policy developments.
Prior to his current position, Mr. Gutiérrez was based in Paris, where he was Microsoft's associate general counsel for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, overseeing all legal, regulatory and government affairs matters in those regions. Mr. Gutiérrez started his career at Microsoft in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. at the company’s Latin American regional headquarters, where he was responsible for commercial and corporate matters for the region.
Mr. Gutiérrez is trained and has practiced law both in civil law and common law jurisdictions. He holds a Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School, which he attended as a Fulbright Scholar; a Juris Doctor degree summa cum laude, from the University Of Miami School Of Law; a Bachelor of Laws degree from Universidad Católica Andres Bello in Caracas, Venezuela; and a Specialization in Corporate and Commercial Law from the same institution.
Posted by Horacio GutierrezDeputy General Counsel & Corporate Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
In less than a month, European leaders will come together to finalize the draft rules of procedure for the Unitary Patent Court. On Tuesday, a diverse cross-industry coalition of nearly 20 companies and associations urged the European Union to make further amendments to the rules to support innovation, while deterring patent trolls from entering the EU patent space.
The rules of procedure are the blueprint for the Unitary Patent Court, which will govern patent disputes for most of the EU. If these rules are sound, companies doing business in Europe will be able to innovate more efficiently.
On Thursday, the Administration issued a call to America’s innovation community to help strengthen the patent system by providing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office the information, tools and resources it needs to perform its vital function.
Microsoft applauds and supports these efforts. The U.S. patent system is the engine for our economy, incentivizing the creation of new technologies that are essential to America’s ability to compete in markets around the world. All stakeholders, including those of us in the private sector, have a key role to play in keeping this system healthy.
On Friday, Microsoft filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in support of affirmance in the Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank case. Our interest in this case is to ensure the Supreme Court understands the difference between true technological innovations and the types of business method patents at issue in this case. Adobe and HP joined Microsoft on the brief.
Simply put, Alice Corp’s patents have nothing to do with software or computer technology. They relate to a method for reducing “settlement risk” in business transactions. They do not advance the state of technology, nor do they allow computers to execute the steps of a business transaction faster, more efficiently or more reliably than they could before.
Posted by Horacio GutierrezCorporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel
Microsoft files legal actions against Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec in the U.S. International Trade Commission and U.S. District Court over alleged patent infringement.
Posted by Horacio GutierrezDeputy General Counsel & Corporate Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Thursday's overwhelming bipartisan House vote to pass the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309) marks a significant milestone toward enactment of common-sense reforms to curb abusive patent litigation. Abusive patent lawsuits create a heavy burden on the U.S. economy — slowing innovation, undermining competitiveness and stunting economic growth.
H.R. 3309 addresses this urgent problem by striking a balance that deters bad actors while protecting intellectual property rights.
As many of you may have seen, Microsoft filed an action today in the International Trade Commission and in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against Motorola, Inc. for infringement of nine Microsoft patents by Motorola’s Android-based smartphones. We have released a press statement about our suit, but I thought I would provide a bit more context here around the innovations infringed by Motorola’s Android-based smartphones and how our suit fits into ongoing developments in the smartphone space.
As we all know, smartphones have become an integral part of people’s daily lives and are used for a variety of tasks beyond making phone calls; from watching video and listening to music to staying in touch with family and friends. The Microsoft innovations at issue in this case help make smartphones “smart.” Indeed, our patents relate to key features that users have come to expect from every smartphone. The ability to send and receive email on-the-go has driven smartphone adoption. Nowadays, everyone expects to receive e-mail from multiple services in real time, to read it on their phones, and to reply or send new messages out – in continuous and seamless synchronization with their email services. Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync, a proprietary technology that we developed, makes this possible.
But people manage more than email from their devices, they manage their lives. Users can not only send and receive email from smartphones; they can also manage their calendars. Their phones will remind them of appointments and allow them to schedule new ones. Similarly, users maintain lists of contacts on their phones, so that they can easily stay connected – by phone, text message, or email – to the people they interact with most. Again, our technology enables people to see their calendar and email contacts on their phone, and to manage their calendar and contacts from whatever device they are using.
People use smartphones for much more as well: they surf the web, play music and videos, and run apps. Consumers expect more and more from their smartphones every day, making their phones resemble not so much a phone as a handheld computer. Of course, for certain apps to run efficiently on handheld devices, they must be notified of changes in signal strength and battery power and the device must manage memory for storing data. Given the wide range of functionality smartphones offer, they also need to be able to display relevant choices for users efficiently. Microsoft’s patented technologies tackle all of these challenges.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling in the Alice v. CLS Bank, reaffirming that abstract ideas are not eligible for patent protection. The Court correctly distinguished Alice’s invalid business method patents from valid patents that advance technology.
We applaud the Court for its ruling, and in particular their recognition that the patents in question are not software patents. The Alice claims describe a method for reducing risk in financial transactions, with no connection to any technological innovation.
On Thursday, Microsoft announced it has joined the newly formed Partnership for American Innovation. The partnership includes Apple, DuPont, Ford, GE, IBM and Pfizer — a diverse group of industry-leading companies committed to strengthening a patent system that promotes a positive climate for technology innovation. David Kappos, former director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, is senior adviser to the group.
Microsoft joined nearly 400 companies and associations in calling upon the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve urgently needed patent litigation reform legislation. The Committee is working to forge a well-calibrated compromise aimed at curbing abusive litigation practices and strengthening our patent system. In any compromise there are always areas where one or more of the interested parties wish the outcome would go further, while others feel it might go too far. We certainly feel that way in some respects, but we also recognize that meaningful compromise on important measures, including fee-shifting, a path to discovery reform, and increased transparency, will provide new tools to fight frivolous lawsuits, while still protecting the patent rights of America’s innovators. We strongly believe it is important for this set of reforms to be enacted now.
Posted by Horacio GutierrezDeputy General Counsel & Corporate Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Congress took an important step on Wednesday to curb abusive litigation practices that are harming business owners, America’s economy and innovation.
The House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 3309, the Innovation Act, and Microsoft is pleased to support it. We appreciate Chairman Goodlatte’s leadership and the hard work of the House Judiciary Committee in crafting patent-reform legislation that addresses abusive behavior while protecting innovation.
Posted by Brad Smith & Horacio GutierrezGeneral Counsel & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
Today, Microsoft announced a patent cross-licensing agreement with Samsung that will provide coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for Samsung’s mobile phones and tablets. The agreement also gives both companies greater patent coverage relating to each other’s technologies, and opens the door to a deeper partnership in the development of new phones for the Windows Phone platform.
In the context of all the attention intellectual property matters have received in recent months, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on the meaning and impact of these agreements. The Samsung license agreement marks the seventh agreement Microsoft has signed in the past three months with hardware manufacturers that use Android as an operating system for their smartphones and tablets. The previous six were with Acer, General Dynamics Itronix, Onkyo, Velocity Micro, ViewSonic and Wistron.
Together with the license agreement signed last year with HTC, today’s agreement with Samsung means that the top two Android handset manufacturers in the United States have now acquired licenses to Microsoft’s patent portfolio.
Posted by Horacio GutierrezCorporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Today, we’re pleased to announce that ZTE, one of the world’s largest smartphone companies, has joined a long list of companies that have signed patent license agreements with Microsoft. Under the agreement, Microsoft grants ZTE a license to Microsoft’s worldwide patent portfolio for ZTE phones, tablets, computers and other devices running Android and Chrome OS. This follows our announcement last week of a similar agreement with Foxconn’s parent company, Hon Hai.
The ZTE and Foxconn agreements show once more that technology companies around the world, including some of the world’s largest and fastest growing manufacturers anchored in China, recognize licensing is an effective way to share technology and build on each other’s work, accelerating the pace of innovation and delighting customers.
Posted by Brad Smith & Horacio GutierrezExecutive Vice President & General Counsel and Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
July 18 marked the effective date for the International Trade Commission’s order excluding from the U.S. market Motorola’s Android devices that implement Microsoft’s ActiveSync technology. In addition, Microsoft has secured two injunctions against Motorola devices in Germany for its infringement of other Microsoft patents.
Over the last few weeks, with the imminence of the ITC exclusion order, Google mounted a public relations and lobbying campaign deflecting attention from its refusal to honor its promise to standards bodies to license standards-essential patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms, a practice that has prompted regulators on both sides of the Atlantic to investigate its conduct. Unfortunately, we have no reason to believe that Google’s diversionary tactics will cease any time soon, and in fact expect more of them in the future.
On Thursday in California, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is holding its Software Partnership meeting to discuss ways to clarify the language of software patents, similar to what we and others have recommended. Standard terms and glossaries can improve the quality of patent examination, benefitting patent holders and the patent system. We are pleased to be participating in that meeting and look forward to its outcomes.
We are also announcing our plan to provide electronic access to Microsoft’s prior art today.
Recording ownership in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s assignment database is at present voluntary, with the result that records of patent ownership are often inaccurate and incomplete.
We are pleased to announce Microsoft’s participation in a cross-industry coalition dedicated to the creation of an effective European unitary patent system. It’s truly a unique coalition: 14 global innovators and users of the European patent system, who are in many cases fierce competitors, plus two associations representing another 25 innovative companies in the technology sector, have been working collaboratively for several months to suggest solutions that support the creation of an effective, balanced and harmonized Europe-wide patent system. Today, the coalition released a letter from European policy makers on recommendations to those solutions.
Posted by Horacio GutierrezCorporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
Last week, BSA│The Software Alliance and the National Association of Manufacturers held an event on Capitol Hill to talk about the benefits of software patents and what steps could be taken to improve the patent system while preserving its role as an engine of innovation. Microsoft participated in the event, and we outlined proposed steps that would increase transparency, curb litigation abuse, and improve patent quality. In doing so, we noted that no single actor can address shortcomings in the system, and that all interested parties – private companies, the USPTO, Congress, and the courts – have a role to play in ensuring that the patent system works to drive innovation, economic growth, and job creation.
Today, the White House Task Force on High-Tech Patent Issues issued a paper containing seven legislative recommendations for patent reform designed to curb litigation abuses by patent assertion entities (PAEs).
As a defendant in roughly 70 patent lawsuits, most of which were filed by patent assertion entities, Microsoft supports efforts to curb patent litigation abuses. But we are concerned and surprised that in a critical respect today’s proposal goes beyond patent assertion entities and instead targets software innovations more broadly.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released information on its Proposed Patent Fee Schedule. In announcing the Proposed Fee Schedule, Director David Kappos noted that the key principles of the proposed fee schedule are to ensure a more sustainable funding model for the USPTO, and to reduce the backlog of unexamined patent applications and decrease patent application pendency. The USPTO is holding public hearings later this month and inviting feedback and public input on the proposed fee schedule to guide it in making adjustments. A final proposed fee schedule is anticipated in June 2012, which will open a 60-day public comment period to submit written input directly to the Office.
Microsoft strongly supports the ongoing efforts of the USPTO to improve patent examination quality, and enhance the efficiency and operations of the Office.
For six years, Congress has worked to shape a bill to modernize the U.S. patent system. Throughout this process, Microsoft has been a strong supporter of sensible reforms. Today, the Senate takes up HR 1249, the America Invents Act, a measure approved by the House in June. We urge the Senate to pass HR 1249 without amendment.
HR 1249 it builds on the significant progress toward consensus reflected in the Senate’s own patent reform measure, S. 23, and accomplishes the three core goals supported by large majorities in both Houses and a broad range of stakeholders across industries and the university community:
Today the Obama Administration unveiled a new initiative addressing an issue that is critical to American business, including the software industry: trade secret theft. In today’s globally connected word, trade secrets and confidential information are increasingly subject to the threats of international espionage and intellectual property theft. Microsoft was pleased last year when President Obama signed the Theft of Trade Secrets Act of 2012 into law, which clarified the protection provided by existing law, but more can be done.
Microsoft applauds the Senate’s passage of the “America Invents Act” and looks forward to further consideration of patent reform by the House.
Posted by Horacio GutierrezCorporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel
Reform of the U.S. patent system continues to make significant strides, with the introduction of the “America Invents Act of 2011” (HR 1249) by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX).