SurfCast Going After Microsoft for using Live Tiles

Apparently the “live tiles” that we’ve been seeing with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are now sparking a lawsuit. An operating system technology designer by the name of SurfCast claims that Microsoft is infringing on one of its four patents for “making, selling, using and offering to sell devices and software products”.

The lawsuit would cover Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8 and the new Windows 8/RT OS. The company says that Microsoft is also further contributing to infringement by encouraging developers to make apps tiles.

Basically this is one of those increasingly common lawsuits where someone patented something years ago (around October of 2000, issued in 2004) and never did anything. Now that someone else (Microsoft in this particular case) did something remotely similar this is somehow affecting their ability to make money on something they filed patent on 12 years earlier— yah, really?

I don’t know about our readers here at Windows 8 Update but I’m getting pretty sick of the patent war. I understand that it is important to protect your company and your ideas, but when it comes down to a small company that NEVER did anything with the idea – and probably never will – doesn’t this start to flirt with a fine line of patent abuse?

The only part I can fault Microsoft on is IF SurfCast’s claim that Microsoft knew about the 403 patent as early as April 21, 2009 proves to be true or not. It’s hard to say at this point. Imagine what great technological progress we’d have if companies started working together instead of against one another. Never going to happen, I know.

So what do you think, when companies like SurfCast sue or something like this do they have a valid point and reason, or do you think it is really patent abuse?

Share your thoughts below.

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