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Microsoft gets 5,000th patent

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Microsoft plans to announce on Tuesday that it has been granted its 5,000th U.S. patent

The patent milestone represents a key marker for the software maker in its recent push to boost its patent filings and then license its technology to other companies.

The milestone patent covers technology used to provide a distinct "spectator experience" for video games, a technique used extensively in the Xbox 360.

The company increasingly has used its patent holdings as leverage in licensing to companies small and large. Microsoft has also banked on its intellectual property portfolio to protect its customers in intellectual property disputes, a move the company has heavily touted in its pitch against Linux.

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