TomTom counter-sues Microsoft: arewethereyet?arewethereyet?

In Friday's IT Blogwatch, Richi Jennings watches TomTom counter-sue Microsoft -- can you say, "leverage"? Not to mention Google Gravity...


Previously in IT Blogwatch:


Nancy Gohring serves it up:

TomTom logo
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.
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TomTom alleges that Microsoft infringes on four patents in Microsoft Streets and Trips ... TomTom is asking for triple damages for willful infringement, since it says it had notified Microsoft about its alleged infringement ... The suit comes on the heels of one Microsoft filed against TomTom in late February, accusing it of infringing on eight patents, including some that describe technology found in a version of the Linux OS that TomTom uses.
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Todd Bishop wears purple:

The suit cites four patents and says Microsoft's use of the technology "has been and continues to be willful and without license from TomTom."
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The case has received widespread attention in part because some of the technology in dispute involve TomTom's implementation of the Linux kernel -- the first time Microsoft has filed patent litigation over the open-source operating system. "We are reviewing TomTom's filing, which we have just received," said Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft deputy general counsel ... "As has been the case for more than a year, we remain committed to a licensing solution.
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Justin Davey shines a light on it: [That's enough lame name puns -Ed.]

While I have no idea what is happening behind the scenes with the two companies, it appears that TomTom is one of the first to stand up against Microsoft’s use of patents to throw its weight around.
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Many believe that this is the first blow from Microsoft in an all-out war against Linux. Whether or not this is the case, TomTom won’t be rolling over and settling behind closed doors back the looks of it.
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Stephen E. Arnold scratches his head:

I think the Tom Tom action is a probe prior to deciding what to do on a far bigger front ... The matter is now one involving not guns and butter but patents and baloney.

Take a moment to read some patents. Check out the claims. Do you know what the invention does? I have to read these stylized documents multiple times to get a sense of what the heck has been “invented”. My view is that Microsoft wants to make a point about companies who choose not to use Microsoft software, systems, and methods without Microsoft’s blessing.
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Eric Krangel is shaking in his boots:

This is exactly what we were afraid of. Linux/open source advocacy on the Internet is something akin to a religious movement, and a Linux vs Microsoft fight over intellectual property is bound to get really ugly ... An army of Linux crazies ranting endlessly about the 'evil' of Microsoft is the last thing the company needs as it prepares a host of new products for market like Windows 7.
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It's also worth noting that Microsoft has the best lawyers money can buy, so if TomTom really forces the dispute to trial, there's a good chance Linux can lose, with tough precedents set for the entire open source community.
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But Pamela Jones can't wait for the trial:

This is so great!! Morrison & Foerster are representing TomTom ... I love covering their cases ... TomTom intends to fight and fight hard. Microsoft always does that. So, it'll be a real dogfight. And we're probably going to get to see some fabulous lawyering.
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Eventually one or both sides will probably file a motion to consolidate the two cases ... What's the bottom line? TomTom is not going to just roll over and settle. Or beg.
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And finally...


Previously in IT Blogwatch:


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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 23 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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