Microsoft takes TomTom to court in patent dispute

The fight is over the GPS vendor's in-car navigation devices

Microsoft on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against TomTom, alleging that the GPS vendor's in-car navigation devices infringe on its patents.

Microsoft is alleging that TomTom is infringing eight patents, including five that enhance the user experience and connectivity on navigation devices including GPS devices and personal digital assistants (PDA). Microsoft is seeking damages and relief from TomTom.

The legal action was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Microsoft also filed a patent infringement complaint against TomTom with the U.S. International Trade Commission on Wednesday.

Microsoft engaged in discussions with TomTom to license the technologies, but an agreement could not be reached, said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft. The software giant had "no choice but to pursue legal action to protect our innovations and our partners who license them," Gutierrez said.

TomTom did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

TomTom's portable navigation devices run a version of the Linux operating system to provide driving directions and other functions. Microsoft said that five of the patents focus on improving in-car navigation technology, including the ability to run multiple applications, virtual on-screen tools and wireless Internet connectivity.

The remaining three patents relate to file management, enabling "efficient naming, organizing, storing and accessing of file data," a Microsoft spokeswoman said.

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