Microsoft to sue TomTom over sat-nav patents

26th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Microsoft said the Dutch company has infringed on its patented technology.

SAN FRANCISCO – Microsoft on Wednesday said it is steering Netherlands-based vehicle navigation systems firm TomTom to court for infringing on the software giant's patented technology.

Microsoft filed complaints against TomTom in US district court and with the International Trade Commission, according to Horacio Gutierrez, deputy general counsel of intellectual property and licensing at Microsoft.

"We have taken this action after attempting for more than a year to engage in licensing discussions with TomTom," Gutierrez said.

"In situations such as this, when a reasonable business agreement cannot be reached, we have no choice but to pursue legal action to protect our innovations and our partners who license them."

A spokesman in TomTom's US office declined to comment, telling AFP that it is company policy not to discuss legal matters.

Patents involved in the case relate to vehicle navigation technology and computer software that Microsoft has licensed to other firms, according to Gutierrez.

TomTom bills itself as the world's leading "navigation solutions provider".

TomTom devices such as its popular GO guide drivers by using satellite tracking of vehicles along with a vast database built with the help of digital map firm TeleAtlas, which it bought in 2008.

In January, TomTom launched GO 740 Live services that stream real-time traffic updates, weather, and local fuel prices to navigation devices that typically mount on dashboards.

Live also enables people to search the Internet using Google.

"TomTom is a highly respected and important company," Gutierrez said. "We remain open to quickly resolving this situation with them through an IP licensing agreement."

TomTom has rejected the accusations and said it will put up a vigorous defence in the US courts, according to a Radio Netherlands report.

Analysts said the Sat-Nav company should settle rather than get involved in a long and costly legal battle which outcome is uncertain.

AFP / Expatica

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