Feeds

Microsoft sues GPS maker TomTom

Lawyers blow IP infringement smoke signals

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Microsoft said it's suing GPS maker TomTom for patent infringement, claiming the Dutch manufacturer uses Redmond's technology but refuses to sit down for licensing talks.

The lawsuit - which is a rare case of Microsoft going on the offensive in a patent spat - was filed today in US District Court for the Western District of Washington.

"We have taken this action after attempting for more than a year to engage in licensing discussions with TomTom," Microsoft's top IP lawyer Horacio Gutierrez said in a statement.

A Microsoft spokeswoman told The Reg that there are a total of eight allegedly infringed patents in the case. Five of the patents relate to car-navigation technology, while three cover technology that makes file management more efficient.

The company claims its allegedly infringed navigation technology lets TomTom devices run multiple applications, provide "more natural" driving directions, integrate with other devices, access the internet, and run virtual on-screen controls.

The file-management IP relates to two of Microsoft's FAT Long File Name (LFN) patents that help with naming, organizing, storing, and accessing file data. Another patent fingered by Microsoft lets systems work better with flash memory.

"In situations such as this, when reasonable business agreement cannot be reached, we have no choice but to pursue legal action to protect our innovations and our partners who license them," Gutierrez said. "Other companies that utilize Microsoft patents have licensed and we are asking TomTom to do the same."

Although Microsoft finds itself in court over IP rather frequently, it's rarely the one sending out the invitations. Whether that's because the company has exceptionally clever licensing negotiators or because folks' willingness to fight departs once lawyers from Micro-friggin'-soft arrive at the door, we'll leave to you to decide.

In the most recent case, Microsoft settled with Taiwanese mouse-maker Primax after accusing it of violating its tilt-wheel technologies.

Microsoft added that it thinks TomTom is a "highly respected and important company" that could make the lawyers circling overhead disappear just like that if it only would be so kind as to bow down. ®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.