Mortsel, Belgium – 11 December 2003 – Agfa Monotype Corp., a global provider of fonts and font technologies that operate today in millions of computers, printers and consumer electronics devices, has signed a patent agreement with Microsoft Corp. to license its ClearType subpixel rendering technology. The move allows Agfa Monotype to offer a unique, embedded technology to its manufacturing customers for improving the readability of text on colour LCDs.
As the first ClearType licensee under Microsoft's newly expanded Intellectual Property policy, the license also assures Agfa Monotype full patent protection of the technology, a software algorithm for significantly enhancing the readability of text on cell phones, PDAs, laptop computers, e-books and other consumer devices. In addition, the license gives Microsoft reciprocal access to Agfa Monotype's patent on similar technology.
"As the world's leader in both fonts and technologies that ensure highly legible text on any display screen, Agfa Monotype has opened up new opportunities for customers to develop products that display exceptionally smooth, sharp text that rivals the clarity of words on a printed page," said Steve Kuhlman, vice president and general manager of Agfa Monotype's Display Imaging group. "Thanks to Microsoft's IP policy, we're now in the position to offer the most effective subpixel rendering technology available. Our partnership with Microsoft truly benefits consumer device manufacturers, who may now license patent-protected technology that will allow their products to perform at a new level."
"Agfa Monotype's interest in ClearType illustrates how Microsoft R&D and IP can be leveraged to open up new opportunities in the technology industry," said Marshall Phelps, deputy general counsel and corporate vice president at Microsoft Corp. "Through our newly expanded IP policy, we're providing other companies a greater ability to explore new product opportunities, which Agfa Monotype in this case is effectively extending to its own customers."
Subpixel rendering technology is designed to improve the quality and readability of text on colour LCD screens. The technology takes advantage of LCD screen geometry, allowing developers to manipulate parts of pixels, rather than whole pixels, to enhance character shapes and character spacing, leading to improved readability of displayed text. The technology, which considers characteristics of the human visual system, is also intended to ensure a consistent, smooth look throughout the weight of any font.
Subpixel rendering technology is offered as an optional component of Agfa Monotype's iType font engine, a font rendering subsystem based on TrueType and OpenType font standards. iType allows for the rapid generation of scalable characters on-screen at virtually any size. Both iType and subpixel rendering technology are part of Agfa Monotype's Text & Imaging Pipeline, a suite of development products and services for consumer device manufacturers. As a single source for technologies related to text and imaging, Agfa Monotype established the pipeline to cover each stage of development to meet requirements for input, display and output.
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