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Microsoft's TomTom patents under scrutiny

Trimming the FAT

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Open-source and Linux activists are not allowing the FAT patent dispute between Microsoft and TomTom to fade.

Three patents held by Microsoft and the subject of the FAT litigation have been submitted for review to legal experts, to find prior art that might potentially disqualify them.

The patents - 579517, 5758352 and 6256642 - have been placed for review on the Post-Issue Peer-to-Patent website, which is associated with the Linux Defenders portal, a site supported by the Open Invention Network, Software Freedom Law Center, Linux Foundation, and IP Capital Group.

OIN said its mission is to encourage the Linux community to review "patents-of-interests" that may be of "suspect quality or riddled by questions regarding prior art".

"Accordingly, the patents used in the recent TomTom patent action have been posted by OIN for review and submission of prior art by the Linux community," the OIN said in a statement.

Supporting the move, a Red Hat spokesperson said it is offering Microsoft the chance to "Publicly promise that the patents asserted in TomTom that are being addressed by OIN will not be used by Microsoft for patent aggression against Linux."

The Post-Issue Peer-to-Patent site is a project of the Center for Patent Innovations at New York Law School, a project created last year and designed to improve the quality of patents, operation of the patent system, and access to information about patents. ®

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