TomTom & Microsoft settle patent dispute
Today (Monday 30th March) TomTom and Microsoft announced they have reached a settlement over their respective patent suits. TomTom will grant Microsoft patent licences at no cost on those patents cited in their counter suit against Microsoft. Microsoft in turn are licensing TomTom for those patents that started the dispute, although TomTom will have to pay for these. The settlement is time limited and runs for five years.
At the start the dispute caused the open source community some concern because TomTom use embedded Linux in their products and the Microsoft claim against TomTom included patents on versions of the FAT file system. Although all the versions of the FAT file system are now very mature, FAT drivers are included in most distributions of Linux and are often used for filing on the various types of solid state memory.
In a joint statement about the settlement the two companies said it provides TomTom with patent cover "in a manner that is fully compliant with TomTom's obligations under the General Public License Version 2." TomTom have agreed over the next two years to "remove from its products the functionality related to two file management systems patents". TomTom's customers are protected under the patents and the terms of the agreement over that time.
Microsoft deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez said "We are pleased TomTom has chosen to resolve the litigation amicably by entering into a patent agreement,".
It seems likely that Microsoft will continue to pursue any patent claims it can against companies that make commercial use of Linux, just as it has in the past.
- TomTom sues Microsoft, a report from The H Open Source.
- The Linux Foundations opinion on Microsoft versus TomTom, a report from The H Open Source.
- Microsoft sues TomTom for patent infringement - Updated, a report from The H Open Source.