Microsoft sues on behalf of Visual Studio users
According to the American magazine ComputerWorld, Microsoft has filed a suit with a San Francisco district court in order to have several patents of the Californian service provider WebXchange declared void. The article reports that WebXchange had previously sued computer manufacturer Dell, courier service FedEx and the Allstate insurance company for alleged patent infringements. Although these actions are not aimed at Microsoft, they can be attributed to the fact that the defending companies used Microsoft's Visual Studio development environment to create their web offerings.
The report in Computerworld says that Dell, FedEx and Allstate have claimed damages from Microsoft because of WebXchange's complaint, on the grounds that it is normal for software producers to compensate their clients, and even accept responsibility, if legal problems such as patent infringements arise from the use of their products. Microsoft is hoping with its new suit to defend the three companies sued by WebXchange, and also to protect other Visual Studio users against similar accusations.
The property rights in question include three patents that FedEx is said to have violated by inviting its clients to send print jobs via its web pages to Kinko's, a copy-shop operator that FedEx took over almost five years ago. Microsoft's action argues that the procedures used are based on previously existing techniques. So far, offers of talks to WebXchange are reported to have been rejected.