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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."
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TomTom Sues Microsoft For Patent Infringement

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  • Total War? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by McGiraf (196030) on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:12AM (#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.

  • Virtual Earth? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by alen (225700) on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:19AM (#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

  • by hattig (47930) on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:19AM (#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 Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:52AM (#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 SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Friday March 20, 2009 @09:04AM (#27267061) Homepage

    ...not the way you use it.

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

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

    by sapphire wyvern (1153271) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:19AM (#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.

  • by transporter_ii (986545) on Friday March 20, 2009 @11:17AM (#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

  • Re:Virtual Earth? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday March 20, 2009 @11:47AM (#27269195) Journal
    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.
  • Re:Total War? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by D Ninja (825055) on Friday March 20, 2009 @12:43PM (#27269947)

    STFU. In America, the "poor" are only poor because they are lazy or just plain stupid. Anyone who is willing to work hard and make a few sacrifices can easily get as much wealth as they desire.

    I'll (sort of) agree with your first part. Most of the "poor" people I know really just don't make the effort to change and improve their life. (Of course, your comment doesn't take into account unlucky streaks, people who have mental health issues, etc.)

    As for "making a few sacrifices" and "easily getting as much wealth as they desire" - not so. This works for some people, but if it was so easy, we'd have a lot more rich people. But, instead, we have a lot of middle class. (Which, arguably, for many countries, America's middle class IS rich.) To become part of the super rich, you have to come up with something awesome AND be able to sell it/market it well, you have to know the right people, or you just have to have pure dumb luck and know how to manage money afterwards. (Lottery winners have pure dumb luck, but many of them have no clue how to manage money and end back up in the poor house.)

  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Friday March 20, 2009 @01:57PM (#27271127)

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

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