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Microsoft Sued Over Windows 8 Live Tiles

By - Source: Cnet | B 53 comments

Microsoft's legal team put to work on Windows 8-related patent infringement lawsuits.

SurfCast claims that it invented the Live Tiles used in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. As a result, the company claims that it is entitled to damages.

SurfCast refers to a patent that it was awarded in 2004 that describes an approach of self-updating content. The patent focuses its technology on connected PDAs as well as WAP phones. Microsoft said that it will prove that the lawsuit has no merit.

It is unclear how much of a case Surfcast really has, but the technology approaches are similar and rely on a communication framework between client devices and servers that store data. The difference is that Surfcast refers to its own servers as data store, while Microsoft's patent refers to general servers and not specifically its own to retrieve the data for updating the tiles. In fact, if Microsoft talks in its Live Tile patent about Microsoft servers, the company may be in hot water. If not, this case can be handled by interns.

Of course, the validity of Surfcast's patent could be questioned as well. The technology is very reminiscent of push-content technology that was aggressively (and unsuccessfully) promoted by Internet startup Pointcast in the late 1990s.

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Top Comments
  • 33 Hide
    kawininjazx , November 2, 2012 1:06 PM
    I was shocked when I read it wasn't Apple suing them.
  • 26 Hide
    amuffin , November 2, 2012 1:08 PM
    So, what about Apple and Google? Why just Microsoft?
  • 22 Hide
    killerclick , November 2, 2012 1:06 PM
    Live tiles are just widgets.
Other Comments
    Display all 53 comments.
  • 22 Hide
    killerclick , November 2, 2012 1:06 PM
    Live tiles are just widgets.
  • 33 Hide
    kawininjazx , November 2, 2012 1:06 PM
    I was shocked when I read it wasn't Apple suing them.
  • 26 Hide
    amuffin , November 2, 2012 1:08 PM
    So, what about Apple and Google? Why just Microsoft?
  • 20 Hide
    sslapikas , November 2, 2012 1:13 PM
    Soon, very soon we will have time when everyone will be able to sue everyone for anything because at any time in future they had an idea about round wheel or even patented wheel with different type of roundness. Happy days for lawyers!
    I am going to sue every youngster who born on same day as me and have same name just because I did this first! Had to choose another day you losers! :) 
  • 14 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , November 2, 2012 1:31 PM
    as a result windows 9 will not have any live tiles. :) 
  • 10 Hide
    classzero , November 2, 2012 1:38 PM
    amuffinSo, what about Apple and Google? Why just Microsoft?

    Because Apple and Google use static icons, not live tiles. Just a thought.
  • 5 Hide
    classzero , November 2, 2012 1:40 PM
    SteelCity1981as a result windows 9 will not have any live tiles.

    Yay!
  • 7 Hide
    silverblue , November 2, 2012 1:44 PM
    And Microsoft had live tile-effect graphics in Windows 1.01. Again, just a thought.
  • 2 Hide
    vigorvermin , November 2, 2012 1:46 PM
    SteelCity1981as a result windows 9 will not have any live tiles.


    More like they will just buy out SurfCast.
  • 9 Hide
    friskiest , November 2, 2012 1:55 PM
    Sheez! What a bunch of creeps,.. this guys from SurfCast!!!

    They had like what,. A Developer Preview,. a Consumer Preview and a Release Preview,.. to notice that MS might be infringing there patents and then they just watched it get on sale so that they could milk MS!!! They're the worst!!!!

  • 11 Hide
    COLGeek , November 2, 2012 1:59 PM
    Since there are very few new ideas, any time someone implements anything, others will claim infringement. Success and profit through litigation...the business model of the 21st century!
  • -3 Hide
    DjEaZy , November 2, 2012 2:01 PM
    ... it would be nice, if windows 8 returned to the classic desktop because of this... i can dream, can i?
  • 11 Hide
    arcticfury , November 2, 2012 2:05 PM
    What is with all these companies waiting months to years after Windows 8 Developer, Consumer, and Release Previews plus hundreds of reviews and demonstrations released CLEARLY showing what Microsoft's "Metro" apps do.

    They can't even use the "Metro" name for their app style anymore because a German retailer decided to wait until a couple months prior to release to issue a trademark warning to Microsoft.

    All these features and trademark names [Live Tiles and "Metro" Apps] have been common knowledge among the industry since Windows Phone 7 released way back in November 2010.

    Seems like other companies are strategically waiting to sue when it will hurt Microsoft most: right at release of their flagship product, Windows 8.

    Intellectual property law sure seems like a rather cold calculating dirty business.
  • 0 Hide
    _TuxUser_ , November 2, 2012 2:05 PM
    This reminds me of when Microsoft sued a company for using Excel as the name of their product, in the end Microsoft lost the case and had to change the name of their own product. Stealing someone else things can be costly, I hope that Apple has to pay a hefty price for the clock in iOS5.
  • 0 Hide
    _TuxUser_ , November 2, 2012 2:07 PM
    friskiestSheez! What a bunch of creeps,.. this guys from SurfCast!!!They had like what,. A Developer Preview,. a Consumer Preview and a Release Preview,.. to notice that MS might be infringing there patents and then they just watched it get on sale so that they could milk MS!!! They're the worst!!!!


    Microsoft has tried the same before, I just see it as payback time for bad habits and using GPL code without releasing patches and include the GPL license with a product.
  • 6 Hide
    gorehound , November 2, 2012 2:17 PM
    Surfcast are a Company located in beautiful Portland, Maine where I reside.They have never shipped a product and their website is a joke.These guys are nothing but scumbag Patent Trolls.
    ]Go to their Contact Page and send them a nasty email.
  • 6 Hide
    leongrado , November 2, 2012 2:25 PM
    Look at the SurfCast website.... They're not going to win this lawsuit. I think they should have to pay for the lawyers that Microsoft is being forced to hire. This is some BS fucking wasting money.
  • 9 Hide
    JamesSneed , November 2, 2012 2:26 PM
    Seriously getting annoyed at the US patent system allowing people to patent end results, not the method to get there. You know if this was allowed in any other industry companies would go ballistic. Bad car analogy but honestly its like saying a car with 4 windows, or a car with rounded edges, lord this system is jacked up.
  • 3 Hide
    friskiest , November 2, 2012 2:43 PM
    _TuxUser_Microsoft has tried the same before, I just see it as payback time for bad habits and using GPL code without releasing patches and include the GPL license with a product.


    They may have done that in the past,. but that doesn't merit Surfcast to redo it,. they have more than enough time to warn MS about this, they knew MS would release it,. waiting for MS to finalize and sell the product is a clear sign that they simply want to file damages and thus receive payments when they could have stop MS from selling it in the first place.
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