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TomTom flexes Linux muscle in Microsoft's face

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TomTom has belatedly joined a patent holding company, which champions the Linux ecosystem, in a clear message that the GPS maker won’t take its escalating legal spat with Microsoft lying down.

The Dutch firm said in a statement today that it had become a member of the Open Invention Network (OIN).

TomTom joins a long list of licensees that have signed up to the OIN since its inception in late 2005.

The group, which has some big backers in the open source community, including IBM, Novell and Red Hat, was founded with the sole aim of acquiring patents relating to Linux and offering them royalty-free to Linux developers.

TomTom has now thrown its name into the ring, and has probably bagged a few more supporters along the way in its noisy legal spat with Microsoft.

The software giant issued a lawsuit against TomTom in late February when it accused the firm of infringing eight of its patents.

Just last week TomTom hit back with a patent claim of its own in which it accused Microsoft’s Streets and Trips products of infringing four patents in the vendor’s vehicle navigation software.

“I'd say the Microsoft/TomTom battle just got bigger, and TomTom is in a stronger position than it was”, wrote Groklaw today in response to the OIN announcement. ®

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