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Microsoft's Complaint against TomTom, as text
Thursday, March 05 2009 @ 11:40 PM EST

Here's the complaint filed by Microsoft against TomTom, NV and TomTom, Inc., alleging patent infringement, as PDF and as text. We'll be setting up a Timeline page for it after TomTom files its answer.

We also provide the exhibits, as PDFs, some of which are the patents being litigated. Don't read them unless you are free to look at such patents, as usual.

Here's the relief Microsoft is asking for: a judgment that TomTom has infringed each of Microsoft's patents, that it was willful, hence justifying treble damages and pre-judgment interest, plus compensatory damages and interest and costs, and "in no event less than a reasonable royalty", expenses, costs and attorneys fees, and, finally, a permanent injunction.

The filings:

02/25/2009 1 COMPLAINT FOR PATENT INFRINGEMENT and JURY DEMAND against defendants (NO Summons(es) issued)(Receipt # SEA 24188), filed by Microsoft Corporation. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A to Complaint, # 2 Exhibit B to Complaint, # 3 Exhibit C to Complaint, # 4 Exhibit D to Complaint, # 5 Exhibit E to Complaint, # 6 Exhibit F to Complaint, # 7 Exhibit G to Complaint, # 8 Exhibit H to Complaint, # 9 Civil Cover Sheet, # 10 Transmittal email)(PM) (Entered: 02/27/2009)

02/27/2009 2 REPORT on the filing or determination of an action. E-mailed to the US Patent Office. (Attachments: # 1 AO 120 Form completed by counsel) (PM) (Entered: 02/27/2009)

03/02/2009 3 NOTICE Microsoft Corporation's Corporate Disclosure Statement ; filed by Plaintiff Microsoft Corporation. (Wichman, Adam) (Entered: 03/02/2009)

You might find it interesting to read the USPTO's current examination standards [PDF], in a January 7, 2009 memo from John J. Love, Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy, "SUBJECT: Guidance for Examining Process Claims in view of In re Bilski", sent to "Technology Center Directors Patent Examining Corps", which I guess means the examiners. Here's the meat of it:
We are presently studying the full ramifications of the court's clarification and other recent developments in the law. In view of the Bilski decision, the guidelines are being redrafted to reflect the most current standards for subject matter eligibility. Until the guidelines are completed, examiners should continue to follow the current patent subject matter eligibility guidelines appearing in MPEP 2106, with the following modification.

As explained in a memorandum dated May 15, 2008, entitled "Clarification of 'Processes' under 35 USC 101", a method claim must meet a specialized, limited meaning to qualify as a patent-eligible process claim. As clarified in Bilski, the test for a method claim is whether the claimed method is (1) tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or (2) transforms a particular article to a different state or thing. This is called the "machine-or-transformation test". It should be noted that the machine-or-transformation test from Bilski is slightly different from the test explained in the May 15 Clarification memo, which was based on the Office's interpretation of the law prior to Bilski.

There are two corollaries to the machine-or-transformation test. First, a mere field-of-use limitation is generally insufficient to render an otherwise ineligible method claim patent-eligible. This means the machine or transformation must impose meaningful limits on the method claim's scope to pass the test. Second, insignificant extra-solution activity will not transform an unpatentable principle into a patentable process. This means reciting a specific machine or a particular transformation of a specific article in an insignificant step, such a data gathering or outputting, is not sufficient to pass the test.

That last paragraph is the important part. Keep in mind that Microsoft also filed a complaint [PDF] with the ITC, which is described on the new ITC Law Blog.

***************************************************

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
AT SEATTLE

MICROSOFT CORPORATION,
a Washington Corporation,
Plaintiff,
v.
TOMTOM N.V., a Netherlands Corporation,
and TOMTOM, INC., a Massachusetts
Corporation,
Defendants.
Case No: _______________________

COMPLAINT FOR PATENT
INFRINGEMENT

JURY DEMAND

Plaintiff Microsoft Corporation ("Microsoft") for its Complaint For Patent Infringement against Defendants TomTom N.V. and TomTom, Inc. (collectively, the "Defendants"), alleges as follows:

PARTIES

1. Plaintiff Microsoft Corporation is a Washington corporation having its principal place of business at One Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington 98052.

2. Founded in 1975, Microsoft is a worldwide leader in computer software, services and solutions for businesses and consumers. Since 1979, Microsoft has been headquartered in the Seattle, Washington metropolitan area, currently employs more than 20,000 people in the Seattle area, and occupies nearly 8 million square feet of facilities at its Redmond campus.

(1)

3. Microsoft has a long history of technical innovation in the software and hardware products it develops and distributes. These software products include operating systems for servers, personal computers, embedded devices, smartphones, PDAs, and other intelligent devices; server applications for distributed computing environments; information worker productivity applications; business solution applications; high-performance computing applications; software development tools; operating systems for automotive applications; and various navigation-related software products and services.

4. Upon information and belief, Defendant TomTom N.V. is a Dutch corporation organized and existing under the laws of the Netherlands having a principal place of business at Rembrandtplein 35, Amsterdam 1017 CT, Netherlands.

5. Upon information and belief, Defendant TomTom, Inc. is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of Massachusetts and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of TomTom N.V. TomTom, Inc.'s principal place of business is located at 150 Baker Ave Ext., Concord, Massachusetts 01742.

6. Upon information and belief, Defendants are in the business of developing, manufacturing, and selling portable navigation computing devices and software for use on those devices, personal computers, PDAs, and smartphones (hereinafter known collectively as "Portable Navigation Devices and Software"). Upon information and belief, Defendants market and distribute their products worldwide, including in the United States, through their channel business partners and various retail companies, at retail stores, through the websites of retail companies, and on their own websites. Upon information and belief, Defendants do business within the Western District of Washington.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

7. This is an action for patent infringement arising under the patent laws of the United States, Title 35, United States Code.

(2)

8. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1331 and 1338(a).

9. Venue is proper in this district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1391(b), 1391(c) and 1400(b). On information and belief, Defendants are subject to this Court's personal jurisdiction, consistent with the principles of due process and the Washington Long Arm Statute, because each Defendant offers for sale and sells Portable Navigation Devices and Software in the Western District of Washington, has transacted business in this District, and/or has committed and/or induced acts of patent infringement in this District. For example, Defendants' own website (e.g., http://www.tomtom.com/page/giftguide?Lid=4&selector=true) allows users to purchase Defendants' products for delivery within this District. The website at http://www.tomtom.com/stores/type.php?ID=2&Country=223 directs users of the Defendants' website to retail outlets selling Defendants' products within this District. Additionally, the website at http://www.tomtom.com/stores/type.php?ID=1&Country=223 directs users of the Defendants' website to online merchants selling Defendants' products for delivery within this District.

PATENT INFRINGEMENT COUNTS

10. Microsoft is the owner of all right, title, and interest in U.S. Patent Nos. 6,175,789; 7,054,745; 6,704,032; 7,117,286; 6,202,008; 5,579,517; 5,758,352; and 6,256,642 (collectively, "the Microsoft patents-in-suit"), which the Defendants are directly infringing and/or inducing others to infringe by making, using, offering to sell or selling in the United States, or importing into the United States, products or processes that practice inventions claimed in the Microsoft patents-in-suit.

11. The Defendants have profited through infringement of the Microsoft patents-in-suit. As a result of the Defendants' unlawful infringement of the Microsoft patents-in-suit patent, Microsoft has suffered and will continue to suffer damage. Microsoft is entitled to

(3)

recover from the Defendants the damages suffered by Microsoft as a result of the Defendants' unlawful acts.

12. Defendants' infringement of the Microsoft patents-in-suit constitutes willful and deliberate infringement, entitling Microsoft to enhanced damages and reasonable attorney fees and costs. Microsoft provided defendant TomTom N.V. notice of its infringement allegations in a June 13, 2008 letter to Peter-Frans Pauwels, Chief Technical Officer of Defendant TomTom N.V. Upon information and belief, Defendant TomTom, Inc. received notice of Microsoft's infringement allegations from its parent, TomTom N.V.

13. Upon information and belief, the Defendants intend to continue their unlawful infringing activity, and Microsoft continues to and will continue to suffer irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law from such unlawful infringing activity unless Defendants are enjoined by this Court.

COUNT I
INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 6,175,789

14. Microsoft realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-13.

15. Microsoft is the owner of all right, title, and interest in U.S. Patent No. 6,175,789 ("the '789 patent"), entitled "Vehicle Computer System with Open Platform Architecture" duly and properly issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on January 16, 2001. A copy of the '789 patent is attached as Exhibit A.

16. The Defendants have been and/or are directly infringing and/or inducing others to infringe the '789 patent by, among other things, making, using, offering to sell or selling in the United States, or importing into the United States, products, including various Portable Navigation Devices and Software that embody or incorporate, or the operation of which otherwise practices, one or more claims of the '789 patent.

(4)

COUNT II
INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 7,054,745

17. Microsoft realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-13.

18. Microsoft is the owner of all right, title, and interest in U.S. Patent No. 7,054,745 ("the '745 patent"), entitled "Method and System For Generating Driving Directions," duly and properly issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on May 30, 2006. A copy of the '745 patent is attached as Exhibit B.

19. The Defendants have been and/or are directly infringing and/or inducing others to infringe the '745 patent by, among other things, making, using, offering to sell or selling in the United States, or importing into the United States, products, including various Portable Navigation Devices and Software that embody or incorporate, or the operation of which otherwise practices, one or more claims of the '745 patent.

COUNT III
INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 6,704,032

20. Microsoft realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-13.

21. Microsoft is the owner of all right, title, and interest in U.S. Patent No. 6,704,032 ("the '032 patent"), entitled "Methods and Arrangements for Interacting with Controllable Objects within a Graphical User Interface Environment Using Various Input Mechanisms," duly and properly issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on March 9, 2004. A copy of the '032 patent is attached as Exhibit C.

22. The Defendants have been and/or are directly infringing and/or inducing others to infringe the '032 patent by, among other things, making, using, offering to sell or selling in the United States, or importing into the United States, products, including various Portable

(5)

Navigation Devices and Software that embody or incorporate, or the operation of which otherwise practices, one or more claims of the '032 patent.

COUNT IV
INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 7,117,286

23. Microsoft realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-13.

24. Microsoft is the owner of all right, title, and interest in U.S. Patent No. 7,117,286 ("the '286 patent"), entitled "Portable Computing Device-integrated Appliance," duly and properly issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on October 3, 2006. A copy of the '286 patent is attached as Exhibit D.

25. The Defendants have been and/or are directly infringing and/or inducing others to infringe the '286 patent by, among other things, making, using, offering to sell or selling in the United States, or importing into the United States, products, including various Portable Navigation Devices and Software that embody or incorporate, or the operation of which otherwise practices, one or more claims of the '286 patent.

COUNT V
INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 6,202,008

26. Microsoft realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-13.

27. Microsoft is the owner of all right, title, and interest in U.S. Patent No. 6,202,008 ("the '008 patent"), entitled "Vehicle Computer System with Wireless Internet Connectivity," duly and properly issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on March 13, 2001. A copy of the '008 patent is attached as Exhibit E.

28. The Defendants have been and/or are directly infringing and/or inducing others to infringe the '008 patent by, among other things, making, using, offering to sell or selling in the United States, or importing into the United States, products, including various Portable

(6)

Navigation Devices and Software that embody or incorporate, or the operation of which otherwise practices, one or more claims of the '008 patent.

COUNT VI
INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 5,579,517

29. Microsoft realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-13.

30. Microsoft is the owner of all right, title, and interest in U.S. Patent No. 5,579,517 ("the '517 patent"), entitled "Common Name Space for Long and Short Filenames," duly and properly issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on November 26, 1996. A reexamination certificate was issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the '517 patent on November 28, 2006. A copy of the '517 patent, including reexamination certificate, is attached as Exhibit F.

31. The Defendants have been and/or are directly infringing and/or inducing others to infringe the '517 patent by, among other things, making, using, offering to sell or selling in the United States, or importing into the United States, products, including various Portable Navigation Devices and Software that embody or incorporate, or the operation of which otherwise practices, one or more claims of the '517 patent.

COUNT VII
INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 5,758,352

32. Microsoft realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-13.

33. Microsoft is the owner of all right, title, and interest in U.S. Patent No. 5,758,352 ("the '352 patent"), entitled "Common Name Space for Long and Short Filenames," duly and properly issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on May 26, 1998. A reexamination certificate was issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the '352 patent on October

(7)

10, 2006. A copy of the '352 patent, including reexamination certificate, is attached as Exhibit G.

34. The Defendants have been and/or are directly infringing and/or inducing others to infringe the '352 patent by, among other things, making, using, offering to sell or selling in the United States, or importing into the United States, products, including various Portable Navigation Devices and Software that embody or incorporate, or the operation of which otherwise practices, one or more claims of the '352 patent.

COUNT VIII
INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 6,256,642

35. Microsoft realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-13.

36. Microsoft is the owner of all right, title, and interest in U.S. Patent No. 6,256,642 ("the '642 patent"), entitled "Method and System for File System Management Using a Flash-Erasable, Programmable, Read-only Memory" duly and properly issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on July 3, 2001. A copy of the '642 patent is attached as Exhibit H.

37. The Defendants have been and/or are directly infringing and/or inducing others to infringe the '642 patent by, among other things, making, using, offering to sell or selling in the United States, or importing into the United States, products, including various Portable Navigation Devices and Software that embody or incorporate, or the operation of which otherwise practices, one or more claims of the '642 patent.

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

38. Pursuant to Rule 38(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Microsoft respectfully requests a trial by jury on all issues properly triable by jury.

(8)

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Microsoft prays for relief as follows:

A. For a judgment declaring that each Defendant has infringed at least one claim of each of the Microsoft patents-in-suit;

B. For a judgment awarding Microsoft compensatory damages as a result of each Defendant's infringement of the Microsoft patents-in-suit, together with interest and costs, and in no event less than a reasonable royalty;

C. For a judgment declaring that each Defendant's infringement of the Microsoft patents-in-suit, has been willful and deliberate;

D. For a judgment awarding Microsoft treble damages and pre-judgment interest under 35 U.S.C. 284 as a result of each Defendant's willful and deliberate infringement of the Microsoft patents-in-suit;

E. For a judgment declaring that this case is exceptional as to each Defendant and awarding Microsoft its expenses, costs, and attorneys fees in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 284 and 285 and Rule 54(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure;

F. For a grant of permanent injunction pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 283, enjoining each Defendant from further acts of infringement; and

G. For such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.

Respectfully submitted,

Dated: February 25, 2009 KLARQUIST SPARKMAN, LLP

By: s/ Adam R. Wichman
Adam R. Wichman (WSBA No. 38466)
[email address]
John D. Vandenberg (WSBA No. 38445)
[email address]
[address]
[phone]
[fax]

(9)

OF COUNSEL:

David E. Killough (WSBA No. 40185)
[email address]
MICROSOFT CORPORATION
[address]
[phone]
[fax]

David T. Pritikin
[email address]
Richard A. Cederoth [email address]
Douglas I. Lewis [email address]
John W. McBride [email address]
SIDLEY AUSTIN LLP [address]
[phone]
[fax]

Marc R. Ascolese [email address]
SIDLEY AUSTIN LLP [address]
[phone]
[fax]

Attorneys for Plaintiff
MICROSOFT CORPORATION

(10)


  


Microsoft's Complaint against TomTom, as text | 118 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here!
Authored by: Hyrion on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 12:23 AM EST
If Any

---
IANAL - But I am very curious and like to research.
There are many kinds of dreams. All can be reached if a person chooses.
RAS

[ Reply to This | # ]

News picks discussion here.
Authored by: Hyrion on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 12:25 AM EST
It's extremely helpful to put the news pick in the subject and ensure a
permanent link is added to the thread.

---
IANAL - But I am very curious and like to research.
There are many kinds of dreams. All can be reached if a person chooses.
RAS

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT, the Off Topic Thread
Authored by: Hyrion on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 12:27 AM EST
Try and keep on topic posts out of this area....

---
IANAL - But I am very curious and like to research.
There are many kinds of dreams. All can be reached if a person chooses.
RAS

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft or Software Patent supporter thread
Authored by: Hyrion on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 12:28 AM EST
Just cause we know you'll show up on this one!

---
IANAL - But I am very curious and like to research.
There are many kinds of dreams. All can be reached if a person chooses.
RAS

[ Reply to This | # ]

I was wrong about MS' flash FAT patent
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 12:52 AM EST
When MS first announced their patents on the FAT filesystem in regards to flash
memory, lo these many years back, I first thought it was to enforce a DRM scheme
on removable flash. And it may well have been, even though they had never acted
on it, but at the time, it would not have been an unexpected move on their
part.

It's interesting to see that this is the place where that particular patent is
rearing its ugly head.

Oh, and welcome back PJ. Whatever made you think Groklaw was going to run out of
stuff to cover? :-)

bkd

[ Reply to This | # ]

Stephen Vaughan-Nichols - 18 secret Microsoft patent deals.
Authored by: kh on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 04:06 AM EST
article/blog from computer world
I dug this up during an e-mail discussion with Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of intellectual property and licensing, Gutierrez said, "We have a history of licensing the patents in this case through patent cross licensing agreements with other leaders in the car navigation space, including Kenwood, Alpine and Pioneer, and through our FAT LFN (File Allocation Table/Long File Name) patent licensing program, where we have 18 licensees to date." This is being done under Microsoft's FAT LFN File System Licensing Program.
The most important reason why the specifics of these deals are under NDA is that any company doing a patent cross license without covering its downstream recipients, i.e. users, is a direct violation of GPLv2 section 7, and is even more explicitly a GPLv3 violation. In other words, if a company admitted to signing such a deal, it could not legally distribute software or hardware using Linux, licensed under the GPLv2, or Samba the file/print server licensed over the GPLv3.
Now, thanks to TomTom's resistance, Microsoft has been forced to admit that they've already been selling patent protection to open-source using companies. Regardless of how the Microsoft/TomTom case turns out, this is something that open-source companies and non-profit organizations must address. These continuing and blatant violations of the GPL cannot be allowed to stand

[ Reply to This | # ]

The undercover deals - are they legal?
Authored by: Peter Baker on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 05:45 AM EST
I'm wondering, as MS has been busy forcing companies to break teh GPL via a NDA
protected backdoor, is there anything that can be done if a number of these
deals become visible?

To me it's again market abuse, so it would be nice if a collective action would
make them pay back the illegally gained revenue, plus penalty.

Just wondering..

[ Reply to This | # ]

First Impressions
Authored by: Ian Al on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 05:47 AM EST
My legal knowledge and understanding is insufficient to come up with a real legal opinion. However, the following occurs to me.

First, a general thought about patented inventions. The patent only covers the invention and how it works and not what it is used for. If I use a patented mousetrap to catch voles, I have not suddenly violated other patents on volecatcher inventions.

Patent No. 6,175,789 ("the '789 patent"), entitled "Vehicle Computer System with Open Platform Architecture."
There have been systems like this for many years in autos which, for instance, allow hand controls to operate radios and environment control. It is obvious to anyone skilled in such arts that the architecture for such a system must be an open platform otherwise it cannot be used by a range of manufacturers. Openness is obvious and therefore non-patentable. The communications protocol might be patentable like the CAN system, but I suspect Microsoft don't have patents on the industry standards. Finally, the term 'computer system' is too broad because it extends from embedded programmable controllers as used in vehicle entertainment systems and engine management all the way up to an IBM mainframe in the back of a pickup. It's non-patentable.

Patent No. 7,054,745 ("the '745 patent"), entitled "Method and System For Generating Driving Directions,"
Method and System. If this can be written on sheets of paper and followed by a human being with a set of road and street maps then they can Bilsky off.

Patent No. 6,704,032 ("the '032 patent"), entitled "Methods and Arrangements for Interacting with Controllable Objects within a Graphical User Interface Environment Using Various Input Mechanisms,"
There must be lots of published home-automation computers running an automation program within a windowing, GUI operating system. Prior art, obvious, and not an invention. British Telecom had a call-centre system before Microsoft was born whereby calls were answered and made by touching icons on a computer screen. There were various other input mechanisms such as illuminated push-buttons.

Patent No. 7,117,286 ("the '286 patent"), entitled "Portable Computing Device-integrated Appliance,"
Calculator, stock control entry terminal, mp3 player, anything with an embedded programmable controller: that is why companies like Microchip have been manufacturing such controller chips as the PIC by the hundreds of thousands for the last decade. The Intel 4040 was marketed as an embedded controller if I remember correctly. What is more, the controller chip companies publish how the chips operate so that designers can use them in embedded products. Well, duh!

Patent No. 6,202,008 ("the '008 patent"), entitled "Vehicle Computer System with Wireless Internet Connectivity,"
A TomTom can be used whilst walking along the street. It is even more useful in a vehicle, but you cannot patent using driving gloves in a vehicle so why can you patent a laptop or a TomTom just because it can use wifi or blue tooth or mobile broadband and you can get it into and use it within a vehicle?

Patent No. 5,579,517 ("the '517 patent"), entitled "Common Name Space for Long and Short Filenames,"
Already successfully challenged in Europe and elsewhere AFAIK. It just needs to be overturned in the US. It is outrageous that compatibility with a device that has to comply with Microsoft's filesystem in order to be used in Microsoft computers can be grounds for a violation. All the TomTom does is interoperate with the Microsoft filesystem and interoperation is not the same as duplicating an invention.

Patent No. 6,256,642 ("the '642 patent"), entitled "Method and System for File System Management Using a Flash-Erasable, Programmable, Read-only Memory"
Why does the filesystem become patentable when used on a memory device, but not on a memory device? Flash vs CD-RW vs DVD-RW vs hard drive vs solid-state drive vs floppy disk vs JAZ disk vs Bernoulli disk vs Zip disk ...

Damages

B. For a judgment awarding Microsoft compensatory damages as a result of each Defendant's infringement of the Microsoft patents-in-suit, together with interest and costs, and in no event less than a reasonable royalty;
TomTom cannot pay patent royalties because they would then be in violation of the copyright licences for the code that they use. There are no reasonable royalty payments and Microsoft are inducing the violation of others copyrights and also using the courts for restraint of trade and abuse of monopoly (they want embedded Windows to be used and they have the monopoly in operating systems that use VFAT).

I will be interested to see what TomTom say in reply. With my non-legal hat on I see this as Microsoft not being damaged in any way, but wanting to bully much smaller companies into using their products. On the other hand, this does not change my opinion of Microsoft one little bit.

---
Regards
Ian Al

Linux: Viri can't hear you in free space.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Art Of War
Authored by: wowbagger on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 08:11 AM EST
I believe Sun Tzu's "The Art Of War" stated something like:

Always leave your enemy a path to retreat. If your enemy cannot retreat, then
they must fight to the last man, and defeating them will be far more costly than
if they are allowed to retreat.

Microsoft has not allowed TomTom to retreat:
* If TomTom licenses the VFAT patents but keeps their product Linux based, then
they are in violation of the GPL, and cannot sell their product. Since this is
now public knowledge no "under the table" work is possible.
* If TomTom licenses the VFAT patents and moves their product to WinCE, then
they have to spend a great deal of effort to do so - and during that time they
STILL cannot sell product.
* If TomTom does not license VFAT, then Microsoft will sue them.

They have no meaningful choice - they HAVE to fight. Moreover, due to the public
nature of their dilemma, every other manufacturer that uses Linux and VFAT is in
the same boat. The Nintendo Wii is a Linux machine which speaks VFAT. Sony makes
GPSs that are based upon Linux. Samsung makes TVs that are Linux based and speak
VFAT. I can go on, but I shouldn't need to: what Microsoft has done is back ALL
those companies into a box canyon, and shout "NO QUARTER! NO MERCY! NO
SURVIVORS! DEATH TO ALL WHO OPPOSE ME!"

With luck, TomTom et. al. will see this, and understand that this is, indeed, a
choice of "fight or die".

I *also* wonder this: Microsoft is a big company. Has Microsoft *ever*
distributed a Linux based device with VFAT support? If so, would the fact that,
under the GPL they cannot do so without conveying a patent license to the
recipient that is transferable to anybody the recipient sees fit, and the fact
that Microsoft as owner of the VFAT patents is able to provide such a license
mean that it can be legally assumed they DID provide such a license?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lies and more lies.....
Authored by: tiger99 on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 09:11 AM EST
Take this, for example:
Microsoft has a long history of technical innovation in the software and hardware products it develops and distributes.
I think many of us here will recognise the almost complete lack of innovation. There seem to be other false statements and exaggerations too, but will leave those to others to find.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why does a secret patent agreement breaks the GPLv2 ?
Authored by: Baud on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 10:03 AM EST
Excuse my naiveness, but I don't really understand that. If a company in the
mobile linux business has a cross licence agreement with MS, it breaches the GPL
only if it states publicly "this portion of linux program is covered by
this MS patent and cannot be sub-licensed". But if the deal is "each
company won't sue each over on these patents", then there is no GPL
infrigment.

At worst, a linux company which has a secret patent NDA with MS breaches its
agreement with MS (by not including a no-sublicense advertisement in its
program) but never breaches the GPL.

Did I say something wrong?

(Not to much activity on the sco side these days...)

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discovery of third party software ..
Authored by: emacsuser on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 11:51 AM EST
'19. On information and belief, certain portable navigation computing devices and associated computer software that infringe the Microsoft Patents are manufactured for TomTom N.V. by third parties located in Asia', page 4, VERIFIED COMPLANT

IANAL but, why aren't the third parties explicitly mentioned, why don't MS sue them first. In the text MS does refer to 'discovery or otherwise'. Is it legal to leave blanks-to-be-filled-in-later in the 'verified complaint'? Is this going to turn out to be another long drawn out diSCOvery.

I thought discovery was to do with the defense finding out what the prosecution was going to throw at them. Why would the plaintiff need to go to discovery to discover (sic) its own evidence.

"Complainant may move to add one or more such producers or customers to this investigation should they, or the scope of their involvement with infringing activities, become identified later through discovery or otherwise", page 5, VERIFIED COMPLANT

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Patent Assignee history?
Authored by: hAckz0r on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 12:24 PM EST
It would be interesting if there were a way to research the patent database to see if any of these patents had a change of the "Assignee". If MS had recently acquired the assignee designation on any of these patents the the purpose would be quite clear that the suit was planned in advance. I simply find it odd that most of the inventors to these patents, at least the ones I tried, are no where near Redmond Wash. Yes, MS is a big company, but I would have expected patents filed years ago to be somewhat closer to home.

---
DRM - As a "solution", it solves the wrong problem; As a "technology" its only 'logically' infeasible.

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Microsoft's Complaint against TomTom, as text
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 03:32 PM EST
I'm wondering where the Intel/GENIVI open platform for cars (as reported at The Register) stands in all of this.

"Significantly, in its inaugural press release (PDF), the GENIVI Alliance specifically states that the IVI reference platform will be built around an Intel Atom processor running Wind River Linux"

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Are we beating our brains out needlessly?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 05:05 PM EST
Remember Micro$oft has already distributed VFAT and other stuff as part of Linux
under the Novel coupon program. Now may be the time to redeem one of them.

bobm

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possible prior art
Authored by: Alan Bell on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 06:17 PM EST
http://ubiubi.kingston.ac.uk/

"David Haskins - Kingston University - Faculty of Computing, Information
Systems and Mathematics
UbiUbi (ubi="where" in Latin, ubiubi="wherever") is a
thirteen year long teaching and research program exploring spatial information
systems design. Experimental integrated transport information systems for
routing and locational analysis with digital mapping have been pioneered in this
period using a variety of programming techniques, some of which can be viewed
here. In 1999 a version, CgiMapScript became a short-lived web product. The UK
government DTI Foresight-LINK ProbeIT project with Jaguar Ford, NavTech and
others used UbiUbi between 20001 and 2004 for in-car navigation mobile data
transmission.
UbiUbi runs under Linux using C++, Apache, MySQL and Gd; is used as a teaching
platform and is not for sale or commercial use"

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I think he has the wrong end of the stick re distribution/in-house.
Authored by: SilverWave on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 07:34 PM EST
Did TomTom test Microsoft's Linux patent lock-down?

hmm I dont think this is correct... I think he has the wrong end of the stick re distribution/in-house.

Gavin Clarke:
"In other words, Microsoft is eroding Linux and open source and slowing their development. A deal with Microsoft prevents GPL'd code from returning to the ecosystem whence it came, with any improvements or updates, as companies that do patent licensing deals with Microsoft must keep it in-house.

This is particularly damaging for Linux, given consumer electronics companies such as those Microsoft is tying up are making heavy use of Linux in devices from in-car systems to TVs and DVD players and could potentially return their improvements to the kernel to the market."

---
RMS: The 4 Freedoms
0 run the program for any purpose
1 study the source code and change it
2 make copies and distribute them
3 publish modified versions

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In Re Ferguson; Federal Circuit Expands on Bilski
Authored by: RFD on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 08:18 PM EST
In a decision issued today, In Re Ferguson, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has rejected all 68 claims in a patent application "...directed to a marketing paradigm for bringing products to market." The court cites Bilski and seems to expand a bit on what is, and is not, patentable.

---
Eschew obfuscation assiduously.

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Patents won't save Microsoft; the GIF and OOXML lessons
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 08:35 PM EST
Microsoft's products are so bad that customer movement to alternatives is
inevitable. Patents aren't going to change that.

What has been pointed out elsewhere is worth repeating here.

GIF had a similar position as FAT does now. Unisys tried to cash in, but
alternatives were found. GIF was made irrelevant.

OOXML isn't going anywhere. ODF is the winning alternative.

If find it rather comforting (disabuse me of my notion) that Microsoft's
corporate policy is to keep making enemies of its customers. We'll see where
those customers go when the GIF and OOXML history lesson is repeated.

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Google to the rescue!
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 09 2009 @ 01:40 AM EDT
Tom Tom will need to find a "friend" with deep pockets, who uses Linux
extensively, and who has the technology and the legal competence to search for
and deploy prior art and precedent to invalidate MS's ridiculous patents. In my
opinion, Tom Tom are going to be Googled.

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Microsoft's Complaint against TomTom, as text
Authored by: garry bloke on Monday, March 09 2009 @ 06:00 AM EDT
I didn't know where to post this one but there's a US based trade/lobby group called the "Innovation Alliance" and I haven't seen them mentioned here.

They are against further patent reform on the basis that system is now sufficiently skewed away from patent holders to users.

Might be totally irrelevant but others might want to take a look (membership, intent...)

More here

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