Microsoft sues TomTom for patent infringement
Marvin Hlavac
Microsoft is filing two separate patent infringement actions against the GPS navigation company TomTom. In complaints before the U.S. District Court in Washington and the International Trade Commission, Microsoft is alleging infringement of eight patents.

It could be interesting to know which specific patents this is about.

Story: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10172068-56.html?tag=mncol;txt

Thanks to gpsman for posting a link to this story at microsoft.public.streets-trips
Marvin Hlavac
... Microsoft cites a total of eight patents pertaining to innovations in car-navigation technology and other computing functionality, and several of the charges appear related to TomTom's use of the open-source Linux operating system. For example, Microsoft says TomTom's PNDs infringe on multiple patents covering three areas in which Linux plays a key role: Support for long and short file names; support for flash memory management; and the delivery of a platform for integrating and controlling other components, including those found within vehicles.

Microsoft attorneys also say TomTom's technology infringes on a patent governing "an innovative method capable of presenting clear and concise directions." The described method combines "instructions based on such factors as distance between instructions and the number of words in the instruction" to produce "a human 'driving' perspective,'" they wrote ...
Source: http://www.newsfactor.com/news/TomTom-Sued-for-Infringement/story.xhtml?story_id=12200B9OHFCW&full_skip=1
Marvin Hlavac
There just can't be a lawsuit without a counter lawsuit. TomTom alleges that Microsoft Streets and Trips infringes on TomTom's four patents.

TomTom is seeking unspecified damages and an order stopping the Street and Trips product.
Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=conewsstory&refer=conews&tkr=MSFT%3AUS&sid=aYVbEmayPJFM
Marvin Hlavac
Interestingly, TomTom just became a Linux licensee (less then a month after MSFT filed the lawsuit).

Durham, NC (PRWEB) March 23, 2009 -- Open Invention Network (OIN), the company formed to enable and protect Linux, today extended the Linux ecosystem with the signing of TomTom as a licensee. By becoming a licensee, TomTom has joined the growing list of companies that recognize the importance of participating in a substantial community of Linux supporters and leveraging the Open Invention Network to further spur open source innovation.

Patents owned by Open Invention Network are available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System. This enables companies to continue to make significant corporate and capital expenditure investments in Linux - helping to fuel economic growth. By developing a web of Linux developers, distributors, sellers, resellers and end-users that license its patent portfolio, Open Invention Network is creating a supportive and shielded ecosystem to ensure the growth and adoption of Linux.

"As we look to enable the Linux Ecosystem, we are pleased to have TomTom become a licensee," said Keith Bergelt, chief executive officer of Open Invention Network. "TomTom is one of a growing number of companies, of all sizes, that value the openness and collaborative culture of the Linux community. We applaud their support for Linux."

"Linux plays an important role at TomTom as the core of all our Portable Navigation Devices," said Peter Spours, director of IP at TomTom. "We believe that by becoming an Open Invention Network licensee, we encourage Linux development and foster innovation in a technical community that benefits everyone."

OIN has accumulated more than 275 strategic, worldwide patents and patent applications. These patents are available to all licensees as part of the patent portfolio that OIN is creating around, and in support of Linux. This makes it economically attractive for companies that want to repackage, embed and use Linux to host specialized services or create complementary products. Additionally, it helps ensure the continuation of innovation that has benefited software vendors, customers, emerging markets and investors.

The Open Invention Network license agreement can be found at http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/pat_license_agreement.php.

About Open Invention Network
Open Invention NetworkSM is a collaborative enterprise that enables innovation in open source and an increasingly vibrant ecosystem around Linux by acquiring and licensing patents, influencing behaviors and policy, and protecting the integrity of the ecosystem. It enables the growth and continuation of open source software by fostering a healthy Linux ecosystem of investors, vendors, developers and users.

Open Invention Network has considerable industry backing. It was launched in 2005, and has received investments from IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony. For more information, go to www.openinventionnetwork.com.

Open Invention Network, the Open Invention Network logo, Linux Defenders, Linux Defenders 911 and the Linux Defenders 911 logo are the property of Open Invention Network, LLC. All other names and brand marks are the property of their respective holders.
Marvin Hlavac
One of OIN's initiatives is Linux Defenders, which also brings the resources of the SFLC (Software Freedom Law Center) and the Linux Foundation to bear against anyone who wants to try patent lawsuits against Linux.
Article: http://blogs.computerworld.com/tomtom_gets_allies_in_microsoft_linux_patent_lawsuit_fight
Marvin Hlavac
It's over!

Microsoft and TomTom Settle Patent Infringement Cases

REDMOND, Wash. — March 30, 2009 — Microsoft Corp. and TomTom N.V. today announced that they have settled the patent infringement cases brought by Microsoft before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and the International Trade Commission (ITC) and by TomTom in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The cases have been settled through a patent agreement under which TomTom will pay Microsoft for coverage under the eight car navigation and file management systems patents in the Microsoft case. Also as part of the agreement, Microsoft receives coverage under the four patents included in the TomTom countersuit. The agreement, which has a five-year term, does not require any payment by Microsoft to TomTom. It covers both past and future U.S. sales of the relevant products. The specific financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The agreement includes patent coverage for Microsoft’s three file management systems patents provided in a manner that is fully compliant with TomTom’s obligations under the General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2). TomTom will remove from its products the functionality related to two file management system patents (the “FAT LFN patents”), which enables efficient naming, organizing, storing and accessing of file data. TomTom will remove this functionality within two years, and the agreement provides for coverage directly to TomTom’s end customers under these patents during that time.

Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing, Microsoft Corporation, stated:

“We are pleased TomTom has chosen to resolve the litigation amicably by entering into a patent agreement. Our car navigation patents, which are at the heart of the enhanced auto experience enjoyed by millions of drivers today, have been licensed to many companies, including leaders in the car navigation sector. The file management system patents, which increase file management system efficiency and functionality, have also been licensed by many companies, including those that produce mixed source products.

We were able to work with TomTom to develop a patent agreement that addresses their needs and ours in a pragmatic way. When addressing IP infringement issues, there are two possible paths: securing patent coverage or not using the technology at issue. Through this agreement, TomTom is choosing a combination of both paths to meet the unique needs of its business, and we are glad to help them do so.”

Peter Spours, Director of IP Strategy and Transactions at TomTom N.V., stated:

“This agreement puts an end to the litigation between our two companies. It is drafted in a way that ensures TomTom’s full compliance with its obligations under the GPLv2, and thus reaffirms our commitment to the open source community.”

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