Microsoft Plays out its Patents in Suing TomTom

Feb 26, 2009

Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against TomTom. The navigation systems vendor is allegedly violating eight Microsoft patents, three involving Linux.

A report in TechFlash announced Microsoft's patent claim against the portable GPS car navigation vendor TomTom Inc. The company produces navigation devices based on Linux and the lawsuit alleges that they violated five MS patents, three of them specific to Linux:

  • Patent 5,579,517, Common Name Space for Long and Short Filenames, issued November 1996
  • Patent 5,758,352, Common Name Space for Long and Short Filenames, issued May 1998
  • Patent 6,256,642, Method and System for File System Management Using a Flash-Erasable, Programmable, Read-only Memory, issued July 2001

Microsoft claims that it tried many times to reach an agreement with TomTom over the patent rights. Not hearing from them, Microsoft decided to go ahead with the lawsuit.

The Redmond company has claimed for years that Linux violated around 230 of its patents. How the current three fit into this category only the courts can decide. We'll see if TomTom wants to go so far as to settle outside of them.

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