Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Microsoft Faces Patent Lawsuit over Live Tiles

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An operating system technology company called SurfCast has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft. SurfCast claims the “Live Tiles” in Microsoft’s operating systems infringe on one of its patents.

CNET’s Shara Tibken reported, “SurfCast, in a complaint filed yesterday in a U.S. District Court in Maine, said Microsoft infringes one of its four patents — No. 6,724,403 — by ‘making, using, selling, and offering to sell devices and software products’ covered by SurfCast’s patent. That includes mobile devices using the Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 operating systems as well as PCs using Windows 8/RT. The company also said Microsoft is contributing to infringement by encouraging developers to make app tiles for the Windows Store.”

R. Chase Razabdouski from observed, “The patent in question is No. 6,724,403 relating to a ‘computerized method of presenting information from a variety of sources on a display device’ and suggests arranging updatable information into a grid of tiles. While some of the patent looks convincing in terms of addressing possible infringement by Microsoft, other parts of the patent are vague and appear to indicate that this patent was specifically being held waiting for the first similar design to come along to prompt a potentially large-dollar lawsuit.”

Gizmodo’s Leslie Horn added, that SurfCast’s patent also covers a “graphical user interface that ‘organizes content from a variety of information sources into grid of tiles each of which can refresh its content independently of the others.’ For the record, Microsoft’s Live Tiles patent is for ’tile space user interface for mobile devices.’ It’s kind of hard to see how the two are that different.”

Nilay Patel from The Verge noted, “The timing could also certainly have been influenced by failed negotiations between the two companies — SurfCast has been around since 2001 and owns three other patents, but doesn’t appear to make or sell anything of its own, so it’s undoubtedly been trying to license its portfolio in true patent troll style for some time. It’s probably a safe assumption that Microsoft will reach some sort of settlement; these types of cases rarely linger on.”

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