Microsoft, TomTom Settle Patent Dispute - InformationWeek

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3/30/2009
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Microsoft, TomTom Settle Patent Dispute

TomTom will pay Microsoft an undisclosed sum and remove features from its car navigation devices.

Microsoft will get its way in a patent lawsuit against device manufacturer TomTom, which agreed Monday to eventually remove certain features from its car navigation systems and pay Microsoft an undisclosed sum.

In the suit, filed late last month, Microsoft claimed TomTom was infringing upon eight Microsoft car navigation and file management patents, despite repeated attempts over the course of more than a year to get TomTom to license the technologies.

The suit took on some controversy, as Microsoft mentioned TomTom's implementation of Linux as part of its official complaints. Two years ago, Microsoft raised some ire in the open source community when it claimed that there were 235 patent violations in several popular open source applications.

Microsoft had sought to license its patents to TomTom or else halt the sale of certain TomTom devices. As part of the agreement, TomTom will receive coverage for file management patents "in a way that ensures full compliance with its obligations under the GPLv2," according to a statement by Peter Spours, TomTom's director of IP strategy and transactions.

Within two years, TomTom also will have to change the way its file system works to remove functionality related to Microsoft's File Allocation Table 32-bit disk format.

Two weeks ago, TomTom countersued Microsoft, claiming Microsoft's Streets and Trips application infringed on four of its patents. The agreement states that Microsoft will not have to pay anything to TomTom but will still get coverage for its use of TomTom patents for a five-year term.


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