Microsoft, with its huge law department and massive patent activity (See my posts of Aug. 3, 2005; and May 13, 2007 on its drive toward 3,000 patents a year.), has the scale to both justify unusual initiatives and the resources to pull off the initiative.
A tidbit regarding this energy comes from InsideCounsel, Sept. 2007 at 64-65. With a recurrent need to classify large portfolios of patents, the software giant developed – what else would you expect – software, which they use to facilitate the process. The law department is willing to license the program to other companies. .
Other law departments have ventured into an entrepreneurial role with software put on the market (See my post of April 9, 2006 regarding Equitable and its licensing program for a matter management system.) CISCO has developed and made available its own e-discovery software. TriPoint’s founder developed its software at Unisys, and then obtained rights to it. American Express has patented a cost management system (See my post of Jan. 25, 2006 as has FMC Technologies, which at least gives them an opportunity to license others to use the patent (See my post of Feb. 8, 2006 on one law department as a revenue generator.).