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26 February 2009, 14:56

Microsoft sues TomTom for patent infringement - Updated

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A new dispute over high tech patents is looming, with Microsoft taking action against satellite navigation manufacturer TomTom. TomTom is alleged to have infringed Microsoft patents in its navigation devices. The patents in question relate to TomTom's implementation of GPS and use of the FAT file system.

The patents for which Microsoft is claiming infringement are US patents

  • 6,175,789 (Vehicle computer system with open platform architecture)
  • 7,054,745 (Method and system for generating driving directions)
  • 6,704,032 (Methods and arrangements for interacting with controllable objects within a graphical user interface environment using various input mechanisms)
  • 7,117,286 (Portable computing device-integrated appliance)
  • 6,202,008 (Vehicle computer system with wireless internet connectivity)
  • 5,579,517 (Common name space for long and short filenames)
  • 5,758,352 (Common name space for long and short filenames)
  • 6,256,642 (Method and system for file system management using a flash-erasable, programmable, read-only memory)

Microsoft has filed an actionPDF with the US District Court in Seattle and has also submitted a complaintPDF to the United States International Trade Commission.

Microsoft has stated that it had been trying to engage in licensing negotiations with TomTom for more than a year, without success. The company says that it has an established licensing program for licensing its intellectual property to other vendors and that the patents allegedly infringed by TomTom have been licensed by many other companies. Microsoft attorney Horacio Gutierrez stressed that "In situations such as this, when a 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." TomTom, which has just posted a substantial loss, has not yet commented on the action.

Update: The Dutch company TomTom has now rejected all of Microsoft's claims that it is infringing on eight of its patents. Taco Titulare, a TomTom spokesperson, told Dow Jones Newswires that TomTom rejects the Microsoft claims and that it will defend itself.


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