Welcome!

Government Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Janakiram MSV, Pat Romanski, Derek Weeks, PagerDuty Blog

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, Mobile IoT, Linux Containers

Microsoft Cloud: Article

Microsoft Sues TomTom’s Embedded Linux for Patent Infringement

The Redmond software powerhouse has sued only two other companies for patent infringement in its whole life

Well, it’s finally happened. Microsoft, which has only sued two other companies for patent infringement in its whole life, is exercising its patent rights over Linux and suing TomTom, the Dutch-based portable GPS device house, for ignoring its pleas to license its patents like other GPS system makers have.  It accuses TomTom of both direct infringement and induced infringement.

Actually Microsoft is suing TomTom on eight counts of patent infringement, five of which have nothing at all to do with Linux. But the other three do and that’s what’s bound to make a big noise.

Click here to view a PDF of the Verified Complaint

In fact Microsoft is trying not to make too big a deal of the matter and is issuing statements saying, “Open source software is not the focal point of this action. The case against TomTom, a global commercial manufacturer and seller of proprietary embedded hardware devices, involves infringement of Microsoft patents by TomTom devices that employ both proprietary and open source software code.”

That’s hardly the point.

For years now Microsoft has claimed that Linux infringes on its IP but it has never substantiated those claims in any way. This is the first time it has put some meat on the bone or even identified some of its claimed IP.

Besides filing suit Wednesday in federal court in its hometown of Seattle, Microsoft also took its case to the International Trade Commission (ITC) in D.C. asking that TomTom’s Chinese-made widgets be barred from U.S. shores.

The stubby lawsuit is a dry, colorless affair that never mentions Linux; the 25-page ITC complaint, even in its redacted form, is more substantive. And the three “Linux” patents are the core of its complaint.

According to Microsoft’s story it has been chasing TomTom for over a year trying to get it to license its patents. That’s why its suit demands treble damages for willful and deliberate trespass.

The three provocative Linux-involving patents that Microsoft says TomTom is treading on are U.S. patents 5,579,517 and 5,758,352 both entitled “Common Name Space for Long and Short File Names” and 6,256,642 entitled “Method and System for File System Management Using a Flash-Erasable, Programmable, Read-only Memory.”

Microsoft explains to the ITC that TomTom’s GPS widgets run a version of Linux and that Linux “and/or the software applications supported by the operating system also provide the devices with additional functionality such as file system support for long and short file names, memory management for flash memory commonly used on such devices, and a platform for integrating and controlling various electronic components used with the portable navigation computing devices, such as other components in a vehicle.”

Microsoft says patents ‘517 and ‘352 “describe an innovative system that both supports long file names and maintains compatibility with file name system and applications that are aware of only short file names” so “a short file name system can read the directory entry containing the short file name but will ignore the directory entry (or entries) containing the long file name. A long file name system can access and manipulate these long file names and so in such a way as to ensure compatibility with the short file name system.”

Microsoft also explains that “file systems are the part of an operating system that manages files on a storage device. A common way of managing files is to use a hierarchical structure, often referred to as ‘folders’ or ‘directories.’ These directories contain files and often other directories or subdirectories. These traditional file systems were designed for ‘multiple-write’ devices rather than ‘single-write’ devices such as flash memory. The ‘642 patent describes a file system that supports the byte-addressable and block-erasable nature of flash memory, while providing support for a file system offering the functionality of traditional file systems.’

Click Here to See PDF of Microsoft's Complaint for Patent Infringement

Microsoft says it uses ‘517 and ‘352 in Vista and XP (remember FAT16) and ‘642 is used in Windows CE.

Microsoft also tells the ITC – in case the open source community thinks it’ll just get the patents declared invalid – that both ‘517 and ‘352 withstood re-examination by the Patent and Trademark Office. Both were issued in 1996 and reconfirmed 10 years later. Patent ‘642 dates to July of 2001.

There appear to be both Canadian and German counterparts to ‘517 and ‘352 that Microsoft has challenged.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Akana has announced the availability of version 8 of its API Management solution. The Akana Platform provides an end-to-end API Management solution for designing, implementing, securing, managing, monitoring, and publishing APIs. It is available as a SaaS platform, on-premises, and as a hybrid deployment. Version 8 introduces a lot of new functionality, all aimed at offering customers the richest API Management capabilities in a way that is easier than ever for API and app developers to use.
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
In today's uber-connected, consumer-centric, cloud-enabled, insights-driven, multi-device, global world, the focus of solutions has shifted from the product that is sold to the person who is buying the product or service. Enterprises have rebranded their business around the consumers of their products. The buyer is the person and the focus is not on the offering. The person is connected through multiple devices, wearables, at home, on the road, and in multiple locations, sometimes simultaneously...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CDS Global Cloud, an Infrastructure as a Service provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CDS Global Cloud is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider specializing in solutions for e-commerce, internet gaming, online education and other internet applications. With a growing number of data centers and network points around the world, ...