Microsoft Sues TomTom Over FAT File System

In an aggressive stance that seems to take on the open source Linux components for the first time, Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against the personal navigation device manufacturer TomTom over the charges of patent violation.

In its lawsuit, Microsoft alleged that the device manufacturer had infringed as many as eight patents of Microsoft, out of which three are related to the use of FAT file system in TomTom’s navigation modules.

The software giant asserted that it had opted out for filing the lawsuit after around a year of futile efforts to pen an agreement with TomTom over using what Microsoft claims are patents associated with the navigation technology.

Upholding its decision of filing the lawsuit, Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s VP for Intellectual Propert and licensing, said in a statement, “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”.

He further went on to say that Microsoft simply wants TomTom to procure license for using Microsoft patents, just like the other companies do.

However, Gutierrez further avowed that the company didn’t rule out the possibility of an out of court settlement and would continue to look for a licensing agreement with TomTom.

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Our Comments

That could get quite dirty. Microsoft going after TomTom could open the floodgates and see the company go after other open source vendors. Tomtom is not a small vendor neither having purchased Tele Atlas for $4.5 billion last year. Microsoft made overtures to open source companies last year but it looks like they might think twice before partnering with the giant.

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