Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Patents Government Linux Business Microsoft The Courts News

TomTom Sues Microsoft For Patent Infringement 166

Posted by timothy
from the gentlemen-do-not-consult-each-other's-patents dept.
CWmike writes "GPS device maker TomTom has shot back at Microsoft with a claim of patent infringement, after the software giant raised concerns in the Linux community with a recent lawsuit against TomTom. In a suit filed earlier this week, TomTom alleges that Microsoft infringes on four patents in mapping software Microsoft Streets and Trips. TomTom is asking for triple damages for willful infringement, since it says it had notified Microsoft about its alleged infringement. Microsoft said it was reviewing TomTom's filing and that it remains committed to a licensing solution and has been for more than a year."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

TomTom Sues Microsoft For Patent Infringement

Comments Filter:
  • Total War? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by McGiraf (196030) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:12AM (#27266697) Homepage

    Is this the start of a total patent war? That would be quite entertaining. Hope when the dust settles we're in for a patent reform.

    • Re:Total War? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by something_wicked_thi (918168) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:19AM (#27266743)

      The funny thing is that, if the summary is true, it could have been TomTom, not MS, that shot first. Maybe MS suing TomTom was just retaliation for TomTom trying to collect royalties.

      • Re:Total War? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pieterh (196118) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:24AM (#27266775) Homepage

        What this shows is that firms which take patents are more likely to be involved in patent lawsuits. So the whole "we took defensive patents, now see how we need them" becomes a self-justifying circle.

        • by Picass0 (147474)

          No, what this shows is companies who employ full time attorneys are more likely to become involved in lawsuits. The patents are simply the weapon of choice.

          EFF understands the threat against OSS and that's why we continue to see the stockpile of defensive portfolios.

        • Re:Total War? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by TerranFury (726743) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:17AM (#27268699)

          What this shows is that firms which take patents are more likely to be involved in patent lawsuits. So the whole "we took defensive patents, now see how we need them" becomes a self-justifying circle.

          Isn't what you're saying circular? TomTom didn't get into this dispute because it had patents; it got into it because Microsoft did. But now, because it has patents, it and Microsoft will eventually be able to settle with a cross-licensing scheme -- whereas if it didn't, then it wouldn't have any bargaining chips.

          The only "circle" I see isn't a circle at all but rather a collective action problem: If all companies voluntarily agreed to avoid this patent nonsense, then they'd all be better off. But the individual incentives encourage patenting. See the Tragedy of the Commons [wikipedia.org], the Prisoner's Dilemma [wikipedia.org], or any other canonical example of a collective action problem.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by TheRaven64 (641858)
            No, because the grandparent is suggesting that Microsoft filed suit in response to TomTom notifying them of infringement. By filing suit first, Microsoft are in a better position to negotiate a cross-licensing deal. If TomTom had kept quiet then it's possible that Microsoft would not have filed suit. Under US law (as of a few years ago) the damages you can claim for patent infringement are much lower if you can claim you were unaware of the patent. By notifying Microsoft of their infringement, TomTom in
            • in response to TomTom notifying them of infringement.

              Oh, I'd missed that part of the story... Why on earth would TomTom do such a thing?

              • Because if they don't, and they do later want to claim damages (perhaps as part of a countersuit) US law designed to prevent submarine patents means that they can't claim any damages between the time that they became aware of infringement and the time they notified the infringing party. Once they became aware of the infringement, they needed to notify Microsoft because otherwise their defensive patent became useless.
                • They could have notified them of infringement, but kept an article of good faith that they weren't going to prosecute...
        • by Tetsujin (103070)

          What this shows is that firms which take patents are more likely to be involved in patent lawsuits. So the whole "we took defensive patents, now see how we need them" becomes a self-justifying circle.

          Huh... Well, I guess that's potentially true in the sense that "involved in a lawsuit" could then go either way - the company would have the option to sue, in addition to the possibility of being sued...

          Though, on the other hand - a company that holds no patents basically has no recourse if they're sued under patents someone else claims to own. There's no potential counter-suit, no threat of retaliation to hold off the lawyers... So if someone holds a patent they can claim you're infringing, and you don'

      • Re:Total War? (Score:5, Informative)

        by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:35AM (#27266827) Homepage Journal

        Not likely.

        Seriously. TomTom is a much smaller company than Microsoft. It isn't likely that they would launch a patent strike against Microsoft (unless their CEO happens to be Darl McBride ;), a company with a much bigger portfolio and more cash. As a comparison, according to TomTom's 2007 annual report, at that time, they had ~$2 billion in assets world wide. Microsoft has ~$20 billion just in cash.

        • Re:Total War? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by overlordofmu (1422163) <overlordofmu@gmail.com> on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:53AM (#27267593)
          Are you saying that the law is not equal and fair?

          Are you saying that in the USA the wealthy are at an inherent advantaged over the poor? That justice isn't blind and she looks at the litigants pocket books and leans on the rich person's side of the scale?

          I was just wondering because I see the same thing and it is nice to hear that I am not alone.
          • Re:Total War? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by murdocj (543661) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:05AM (#27268551)

            Are you saying that in the USA the wealthy are at an inherent advantaged over the poor?

            You mean, like the rest of the world?

            • by db32 (862117)
              Hey lets be fair. I like my tyrants honest. It really isn't about how things are so much different in the US as much as it is the sales pitch and packaging. A great deal of lipservice is paid to "opportunity" and "justice", and while there is certainly more of both than in many places of the world, the sales brochure indicates that there is an abundance of it when there really is not. Many places are much more honest about how little justice and opportunity is available for the poor.
          • Not at all, the law bans the rich, as well as the poor, from sleeping under bridges.
        • Really, now. This argument is a little silly.

          TomTom has, apparently, been pursuing MS for a year. We have no idea what they've been saying or asking for. TomTom probably felt as you say - that it shouldn't file a lawsuit because this very thing would happen. So maybe they tried to bluff and MS called it. Or maybe they didn't think their terms were unreasonable but MS did.

          We don't know what went on in these negotiations, but we do know it's been going on for a year with no license signed. Maybe it's one huge

      • Re:Total War? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:37AM (#27266841) Journal

        it could have been TomTom, not MS, that shot first.

        There's a bit of a difference between notifying someone and filing a lawsuit. If Microsoft is infringing on their patents what else should they have done? You can't ignore it. Personally I'd rather receive a letter in that situation than a summons. Maybe that's just me....

        • Re:Total War? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Ioldanach (88584) on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:04AM (#27267065)
          Also, from the article, Microsoft "remains committed to a licensing solution and has been for more than a year." So Microsoft has known about this patent violation for a year, and rather than stopping the violation while seeking a license, they continued to infringe. It would be hard to find a clearer case of willful infringement.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            I hate Microsoft just like next guy, but sorry, *ALL* software patents are troll patents in my book. If you start using it against anyone else (which I don't say is the case of TomTom, we don't know yet) then prepare other SW patents to bite you back.
        • Re:Total War? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Dhalka226 (559740) on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:31AM (#27267299)

          If Microsoft is infringing on their patents what else should they have done? You can't ignore it.

          True. But if it really has been a year since they sent the notification, it seems pretty clear that 1) Microsoft doesn't think they're infringing or 2) they simply don't want to pay license fees. #1 doesn't seem likely, because of that quote about looking for a licensing solution, so it has to be #2.

          So how do you infringe somebody's patent and not have to pay them to continue using it? You trade. But you can't trade unless they're also infringing one of yours -- so you can file a lawsuit, which essentially forces them to counter-sue. Now you're both in the pot and you both have incentive to deal, and agreeing to a patent license swap is certainly the easiest and most pain-free resolution to the conflict.

          Note that nowhere in that scenario does any party have to actually prove the other is infringing, nor does it even have to be reality. It just has to have a prospect of losing scary enough that you don't want to let a judge/jury decide an outcome. It can be fear of losing or simply fear of legal costs in pursuing a win -- and having Microsoft's legal department on the other side of the table should go a long way toward that.

          And hey, if Microsoft actually succeeds in getting a patent trade without TomTom actually infringing one of their patents... well, they won handily.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            But aren't courts tired of getting used for this type of thing? That's like two guys organizing a public boxing match between themselves. They get a ring, a referee, a crowd... As soon as round 1 starts, they look at each other and decide it's not worth fighting. If all they wanted was to compare each other's muscles, couldn't they have done this privately instead of wasting a bunch of people's time?

            • by johannesg (664142)

              But aren't courts tired of getting used for this type of thing? That's like two guys organizing a public boxing match between themselves. They get a ring, a referee, a crowd... As soon as round 1 starts, they look at each other and decide it's not worth fighting. If all they wanted was to compare each other's muscles, couldn't they have done this privately instead of wasting a bunch of people's time?

              I'm sure they are pretty tired of drugdealing, homicide, and theft as well - and yet those things keep popping up in court all the time...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mea37 (1201159)

          What do you mean, you can't ignore it? Of course you can. Patents aren't like trademarks, if that's what you're thinking...

    • Re:Total War? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zeinfeld (263942) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:22AM (#27266767) Homepage
      Well it certainly makes Tom Tom's previous complaints about patent bullies look a bit thin. As they admit they threatened Microsoft. To their surprise, Microsoft fired first.

      In other words the Microsoft suit had nothing whatsoever to do with Linux, except to the extent that if your product uses Linux and you try to sue Microsoft for infringement of your own patents you can expect to be sued in return.

      This is not a new situation. The car industry discovered that it was impossible to build cars without cross licensing between all the major manufacturers in the 1950s.

      • Re:Total War? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sapphire wyvern (1153271) on Friday March 20, 2009 @09:19AM (#27267885)

        This is not a new situation. The car industry discovered that it was impossible to build cars without cross licensing between all the major manufacturers in the 1950s.

        Thus creating a nice high barrier to entry to protect the incumbent oligarchs. Further evidence that the current patent regime is certainly not good for the quality of the market.

      • The car industry discovered that it was impossible to build cars without cross licensing between all the major manufacturers in the 1950s.

        The same goes for the microelectronics industry. Intel, AMD, IBM... they're all cross-licensed to the hilt. Patents are issued very liberally, and the companies don't protest each other's obvious patents, because they know they'll just cross license them effectively-for-free anyway ("I'll pay you ten million dollars for your portfolio, and you'll pay me ten million for mine").

        The only thing this achieves in the end, as sapphire_wyvern pointed out [slashdot.org], is to create a high barrier of entry to incumbents.

        • It also produces a nice environment for patent trolls. If your company doesn't produce anything - it just licenses patents - then you gain nothing from a cross-licensing agreement and the MAD strategy doesn't affect you because you're not infringing any patents.
      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        So TomTom should have just idly stood by while MicroSoft used their patent without paying a license fee? It's not like TomTom tried to sue MicroSoft; they just told them "hey, you're using our patent, you should pay the license fee". Only after MicroSoft didn't give TomTom the same opportunity to buy a license did TomTom countersue.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:32AM (#27266805)

      Personally I'm waiting for IBM to jump on the band wagon and sue both TomTom and Microsoft for patent infringement for using electronic devices in implementing data reading. Then Oracle decides they want a slice of the pie and sues everyone for infringing on their patent to use patents to sue other companies. And just when this mexican standoff starts to get hairy, we get HP joining in claiming that everyone has violated their patent of patenting patents. At this point all the big guns come out and the pantent suites start flying until you need a a meter by meter poster to diagram out the connection using a 10pt font. The Lawyers then go to work, bankrupting all the companies and then turn around and ask the US government for a bailout. Which is when AIG strikes claiming that it would violate their patent of receiving government bailouts.

      At this point the rest of the world decides to nuke the US to stop the disease from spreading.

    • by Jurily (900488)

      Is this the start of a total patent war? That would be quite entertaining. Hope when the dust settles we're in for a patent reform.

      FOOD FIGHT!

    • ...the Patent Wars have.

      *cue John Williams orchestra music*

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Is this the start of a total patent war? That would be quite entertaining.

      You know what would be even more entertaining? If this were actually patent war theater.

  • by squoozer (730327) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:14AM (#27266711)

    Is it just me that is a bit fed up with this sort of situation? The last few years seems to have seen the rise of the legal stalemate based on patent infringement where 90% of the patents are for trivial ideas anyway. I'm sure when the patent and legal system were designed this wasn't what was intended as it helps no one and just ends up costing us, the buyers, more money. I suppose it keeps all those lawyers in business though.

    • by Fred_A (10934) <`fred' `at' `fredshome.org'> on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:18AM (#27266735) Homepage

      Is it just me that is a bit fed up with this sort of situation?

      Inter corporate relations look more and more like a kindergarden recess.

      You infringed my patent, I will sue !
      Did not nyah nyah
      Did so, I'm telling on you
      Oh yeah ? Well you infringed first, so there !

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kj_kabaje (1241696)
      It builds paper wealth for some people; much like short-selling and the current Wall Street debacle.
    • by transporter_ii (986545) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:17AM (#27268715) Homepage

      Without the Internet, just 10 - 15 years ago...you probably wouldn't have heard about any of this unless you happened to be involved in it.

      Maybe some trade publications would have covered it, but there were few newspapers that would have.

      It's been going on for a while, it is just that the last few years, Slashdot made it front page news for geeks everywhere.

      The Internet was a game changing, disruptive technology. Maybe things will change a *little* simply because there are people getting fed up with it. Whereas, in the past, it was just business as usual.

      I know after watching what happened to SCO, I would have to have some kind of freaking air tight case to sue a company involved in Linux.

      Even if SCO had one, they would have still lost.

      Transporter_ii

      • by Quothz (683368)

        It's been going on for a while, it is just that the last few years, Slashdot made it front page news for geeks everywhere.

        I'd intended to disagree with you, and I dug up some numbers:

        The number of patents [uspto.gov] granted each year spiked dramatically in the US (be sure you're looking at the second row) in 1998, and again in 2006.

        Congress' statistics office determined that "the number of U.S. patent lawsuits as a percentage of total patents have not changed significantly over the passed two decades". [wikipedia.org]

        This site [patentlyo.com] claims that suits by number of claims rose way up in '04, but the source of the data is not clear.

        Likely the '98 jump was th

        • At least in the US, it also has to do with the circuit courts suddenly granting software patents in the 90s, despite the fact that SCOTUS has been always been very clear that algorithms are not eligible.

          I know some people don't consider software to be algorithms, but I do, and besides, the actual criteria goes deeper than that.

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        10-15 years? I've been on Slashdot for over a decade, and since its inception this kind of thing has been covered here. Things like the Microsoft antitrust case has been going on for a while. It's just that big cases haven't been that all common because there's a significant chance of MAD.

  • MAD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by INeededALogin (771371) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:14AM (#27266717) Journal
    Does anyone else see the entire corporate structure in America as being nothing more than a patent standoff? It is basically the whole "Mutually Assured Destruction" with small companies being the equivalent of 3rd world countries. This is pretty unsettling that the only retort to a patent lawsuit is to fire off a counter from your own portfolio.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by chalkyj (927554)
      But does anything actually come of these lawsuits? I read about infringement claims by trolls against large companies and by large companies against each other all the time, but they never seem to come to anything - or at least the outcome is never publicised.

      Does anyone have some information on what percentage of technology patent suits get thrown out of court and how many actually end in settlement or damages?

    • Re:MAD (Score:4, Insightful)

      by infalliable (1239578) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:32AM (#27266811)

      Pretty much.

      Large companies build up patent portfolios for the sole intention of using them in standoff mode or as defense.

      I talked to someone in the digital storage area, and who basically said each company patents all they can so they have a large number as a defense. They basically have to infringe on others patents, and others have to infringe on theirs and they all just agree to go on doing business rather than pay the lawyers to squabble.

      It is for these very instances. Company A goes to Company B and says your infringing on my patents. Company B's response is that you (company A) are infringing on mine as well. Nobody will win other than the patent lawyers.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Like any 3rd world dictator can tell you, sell out to of of the two big powers.
      Be cool like Fulgencio Batista
      General Carlos Castillo Armas
      Augusto Pinochet
      Gen. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq

      Or just get the "Patent Reform Bill" passed.
      http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126994.400-us-patent-bill-a-chill-on-innovation.html [newscientist.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by adamchou (993073)
      maybe we should get bush to invade these companies building these patents of mass destruction
  • Virtual Earth? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by alen (225700) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:19AM (#27266737)

    MS Virtual Earth has been around since the 1990's. How long has Tom Tom been around? Garmin has used Virtual Earth for it's GPS products.

    I'm willing to bet Microsoft's case is a lot stronger than TomTom's

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      MS Virtual Earth has been around since the 1990's.

      So has TomTom [tomtom.com].

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by alen (225700)

        and when was this patent filed? Streets and Trips has been around since the 1990's as well. we used to use it in the army to drive from italy to germany

        • tomtom's first navigation software came out in 2001.

          • by cybrthng (22291)

            From wikipedia:

            "Originally created in the late 1980s by NextBase Ltd, a UK company, under the name "AutoRoute", it was sold for DOS based PCs and later for the Apple Macintosh. In the early 1990s it was ported to the Microsoft Windows operating system. The company created a version for the United States called AutoMap. In 1994 the product was sold to Microsoft. Microsoft sold products for Windows 95 as AutoMap Road Atlas and AutoMap Streets under the Microsoft Home brand."

            MS mapping existed before TomTom wa

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by JustNilt (984644)

              MS mapping existed before TomTom was even borne

              Which means precisely squat. Software changes over time (duh). It should be obvious to anyone that TomTom alleges Microsoft began infringing at some date in the Streets & Trips app. I'm sure they aren't claiming the entire concept infringes but only a part, minor or otherwise.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by TheRaven64 (641858)
              Heh, I forgot MS bought AutoRoute. I remember running that software on a 386 (16MHz, I think, with 5MB of RAM). It took around 2-5 seconds for each potential route and around two minutes to find all viable alternatives. Being a DOS program, it included its own printer drivers to output graphics and let you print out a map and set of directions for any of the routes it found. I always think of how long it took back when I use Google maps and watch it recalculate the route in real time as I add waypoints.
  • by hattig (47930) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:19AM (#27266739) Journal

    "Microsoft said it was reviewing TomTom's filing and that it remains committed to a licensing solution and has been for more than a year."

    Well until you have licensed you're in a quandary - you can't release, or you can but eventually you'll be sued. If TomTom doesn't want to license, and that's their right, then you are out of luck.

    So you try and find some patent in your own portfolio that they might be infringing (even if it's a bit of a shady patent) to try and force them to license. "committed to a licensing solution" in this case simply means corporate bullying and threats ("committed to getting what we want for the least possible money"). With Don Ballmer at the head.

  • by GerardAtJob (1245980) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:20AM (#27266749)

    ... this really need to stop... patent over a mouseclick or a pointer on screen shouldn't be patentable... In fact everything from a computer software shouldn't be patentable... A series of IF and ELSE isn't something new... whatever you do with it... Instead of creating competition in a field (the one that implement the feature the BEST and improve the MOST), we created a huge pot of gold for lawyers... at least it's friday :D

  • by Seriousity (1441391) <Seriousity@NOSPaM.live.com> on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:22AM (#27266769)
    SIMULANT LIEUTENANT: You have two Earth minutes before we attack.

    RIMMER: Let's get out of here.

    CAT: Wait, I know this game. It's called cat and mouse, and there's only one way to win; don't be the mouse.

    LISTER: What are you saying?

    CAT: I'm saying, the mouse never wins. Not unless you believe those lying cartoons. We don't run, we strike. It's the last thing they'll be expecting.

    RIMMER: No, the last thing they'll be expecting is for us to turn into ice skating mongooses and to dance the Bolero. And your plan makes about as much sense.

    LISTER: I say go with it.

    KRYTEN: Agreed.

    CAT: You're going to go with one of my plans? Are you nuts? What happens if we all get killed? I'll never hear the last of it!
  • Microsoft said it was reviewing TomTom's filing and that it remains committed to a licensing solution and has been for more than a year.

    Am I reading this right, "tomtom notified us we are infringing on and profiting from their patent, and we've been trying a combination of ignoring them and trying to make a token payoff to them to make them go away, and now they've had the nerve to sue us over it?"

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:35AM (#27266829) Journal

    I am picturing the MS headquarters, and a worried and puzzled Ballmer asking "When did this start, that companies stopped fearing us? And people actually NOT falling in line for each and every new Windows update we shit? And IE's marketshare declining???"

    Next scene: chair flies through window.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:45AM (#27266909)

    [Microsoft] remains committed to a licensing solution and has been for more than a year.

    Haha, yeah. And when I download a movie from the Pirate Bay and if I get sued for it a year later, can I claim that I "remain committed to a buying solution and have been for more than a year", too?

    (Yes, I know, copyright infringement != patent infringement, but seriously, what kind of response is this? If anything, the only thing they're saying there is a) that they acknowledge TomTom has a valid case, and b) yes, they have indeed not licensed the patents in question, despite using them.)

  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:52AM (#27266973) Homepage
    FTA:

    "The case is about TomTom's specific implementation of the Linux kernel, Microsoft said.

    That is complete bullshit, and may well be indicative of just how truly clueless M$ is about FOSS. They still think the binary is the product. Since the source code needs to be made available to the end user, the code for VFAT support would be delivered even if not enabled in the build. If they attack anyone, they attack everyone, and they clearly don't get that. It is no wonder they still think they might win in the end.

    TomTom enabling the compile flag for VFAT support before doing a make doesn't constitute a "specific implementation". The code is in the vanilla kernel. TomTom didn't add it post facto.

    Do they really think we are that stupid, or are they actually that stupid?

    • by RotateLeftByte (797477) on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:13AM (#27267119)

      Scene in Office of Microsoft Legal team.

      Head Honcho to team:-
      Guys, this memo from SB says we may have to take a pay cut like other employees.
      What can we do?

      One of the team replies meekly:-
      Sue someone?

      Head Honcho:-
      Great Idea. Who?

      Another team member replies:-
      My new car has this awesome sat nav. Shame it is not made by us

      Head Honcho:-
      Great. Lets sue them into oblivion. That should keep SB from threatening to cut our salaries.

      Two of the team leave muttering
      Oh Great. My Tom-Tom is great. Now we will all have to remove them from our cars.
      Yeah. How are we going to find our way round this place if we don't have a decent SatNav?
      Shhhhhh. If SB hears that you will get your pink slip on the spot.

  • by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:04AM (#27267061) Homepage

    ...not the way you use it.

    In other words, software and business method patents shouldn't #!$#@! exist in the first place.

  • Although ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hesaigo999ca (786966)

    Even though Microsoft streets used to ship with win95, way before TomTom existed, I guess they must have used some new technology to tie into the streets program, that may have come from the likes of TomTom?
    I have not RTA so, I am guessing here.

    • Re:Although ... (Score:4, Informative)

      by gbjbaanb (229885) on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:22AM (#27267207)

      Even though Microsoft streets used to ship with win95, way before TomTom existed,

      someone else who thinks that SatNav is a 21st century invention.

      From http://investors.tomtom.com/overview.cfm?Language=1 [tomtom.com]

      "TomTom was founded by Harold Goddijn, Peter-Frans Pauwels and Pieter Geelen in 1991"

      That'll be 4 years before Win95.

      • Although it was 4 years before ms95, it was not 4 years before the first mainstream
        gps mapping device

    • by Binestar (28861)

      Perhaps you shouldn't guess.

      TomTom has been around since 1991. I think that is prior to 1995, but I didn't RTA to make sure.

      • Yes TomTom, but not a TomTom gps device. Shwarz smoke meat in Montreal has been around
        since 1897, but it does not mean they have been serving smoked meat since 1897....even though they are now know as the landmark smoke meat restaurant. I think the same applies in this case...
        show me the date of their first gps device...and the maps it was using to update this device and I will show you the first date of map streets by M$

  • Too bad that TomTom will likely simply settle for a cross-licensing agreement rather than taking Microsoft to the cleaners over this. The result is that the next company along the way will have to fight the very same battle.
  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Friday March 20, 2009 @12:57PM (#27271127)

    I suspect that Tom Tom's patent advocacy is going to prevent them from arguing Bilski.
    What a shame.

  • This makes it apparent that MS is in this thing for the end result: namely, patents stifling MS-alternative software, and Linux adoption in particular. They are very likely to be willing to pay the full amount, if it means they've got a club with which they can threaten Open Source competitors.

Science and religion are in full accord but science and faith are in complete discord.

Working...