TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Microsft Gets Sued Over Patent Infringements

Microsft Gets Sued Over Patent Infringements

Matthew Fordahl (
Thu, 15 Dec 2005 12:26:06 -0600

By MATTHEW FORDAHL, AP Technology Writer 50 minutes ago

Mobile e-mail startup Visto Corp. has sued Microsoft Corp. for
allegedly infringing on three of its patents related to how
information is handled between servers and handheld devices such as
cellular phones.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages and an
injunction barring the sale of products, was filed late Wednesday -
the same day Visto announced that NTP Inc. had acquired an equity
stake in the startup and signed a patent licensing deal.

Visto's allegations against Microsoft are similar to NTP's against
Research In Motion Ltd., which now faces the possible shutdown of its
popular BlackBerry messaging service in the United States.

"For their foray into mobile e-mail and data access, Microsoft simply
decided to misappropriate Visto's well known and documented patented
technology," Visto CEO Brian Bogosian said in a statement.

Jack Evans, a Microsoft spokesman, said the company had not been
served with the lawsuit as of Thursday morning.

"Until we have an opportunity to see and review this complaint, we're
not in a position to comment on it," he said. "Microsoft stands behind
its products and respects intellectual property rights."

Visto claims Microsoft, as portable devices handle more e-mail, is
making matters worse by bundling its Windows Mobile operating system
with its market-leading Exchange e-mail server.

"This method of bundling software has led Microsoft to be prosecuted
by competition authorities in the past, and in this case, potentially
increases the rate and manner in which their infringement on Visto's
patents occurs," the company said.

NTP's deal with Visto also could help it bolster its case against RIM
as it can now say it is more than a company that just holds patents
and litigates to enforce them. Under the agreement, Visto will have
access NTP's patent portfolio for the life of the patents.

"This is a clear win for mobile email users everywhere as it provides
them with a viable alternative to RIM that protects them from any NTP
litigation risk," Donald E. Stout, NTP's co-founder.

Visto, based in Redwood Shores, Calif., said its clients include
Cingular, Sprint-Nextel, the Vodafone Group and Rogers Wireless. It
has more than 300 employees and holds 25 patents.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Marshall, Texas.

Shares of Microsoft lost 18 cents, to $26.91, in Thursday trading on
the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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