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.