February 21, 2009, 11:20 AM — Microsoft has promoted one of its intellectual property (IP) attorneys, Horacio Gutierrez, to an executive role to steer its IP policy and licensing programs.
Gutierrez, who has been a member of Microsoft's Law and Corporate Affairs department since 1998, is now corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of intellectual property and licensing, the company confirmed Friday.
Gutierrez had been in Paris as an associate general counsel until a few years ago and has taken an increasingly active role in the company's IP affairs.
In his new role, Gutierrez will lead the company’s strategic business, legal, and public policy efforts related to Microsoft’s IP assets, including patents, trademarks and copyrights. He also will manage the company's patent portfolio and Microsoft's commercial licensing of IP.
Microsoft has eased up slightly on its IP restrictions and been more friendly to open-source interests over the past couple of years, loosening some restrictions on how it shares IP under open-source licenses and donating some code to open-source projects. Insiders say Gutierrez has been instrumental in fostering engagement with the open-source community and probably will continue that course in his new role. However, he also has been a proponent of controversial cross-patent licensing agreements that Microsoft has struck with companies as a way to derive revenue from its extensive patent portfolio.
Gutierrez has also been involved with Microsoft's pro bono legal program, through which company attorneys donate their time to helping immigrants attain legal status in the U.S. and avoid deportation.