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Microsoft sues TomTom over patent claims

updated 06:15 pm EST, Wed February 25, 2009

Microsoft sues TomTom

Microsoft on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against TomTom, accusing the navigation company of infringing on a number of patents. The dispute involves eight individual patents, with three relating to the use of a Linux kernel. Microsoft claims to have engaged the Dutch company for more than a year, attempting to negotiate a licensing agreement for the technology that has "been licensed by many others."

"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. Other companies that utilize Microsoft patents have licensed and we are asking TomTom to do the same," a statement said.

Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for intellectual property, said that the filing marks the third time the company has initiated such a suit. The previous two were settled after filing, and Microsoft claims the dispute with TomTom will "remain open to quickly resolving this situation with them through an IP licensing agreement."

Microsoft said that the open-source software was not the target of the action, as five of the patents relate to proprietary software, according to TechFlash. The company previously suggested that a number of open-source programs violate more than 200 of its patents. Gutierrez claimed that the current litigation is not the start of a wider strategy to put an end to the violations.

"Microsoft respects and appreciates the important role that open-source software plays in our industry and we respect and appreciate the passion and the great contribution that open-source developers make in our industry," Gutierrez said.

by MacNN Staff



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