A company by the name of SurfCast Inc has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Microsoft regarding their new Windows 8 Live Tile interface that launched on October twenty-sixth. The company, whose founders and directors include three IBM executives, makes four counts of infringement against Microsoft who were shown to be clearly aware of this patent as far back as 2009.
SurfCast's formal complaint before the court begins with their factual background. SurfCast states that U.S. Patent number 6,724,403 (the '403 patent) entitled "System and Method For Simultaneous Display of Multiple Information Sources," is a granted patent issued to Surfcast on April 20, 2004 and is Exhibit A in this case.
According to SurfCast, Microsoft infringes the '403 patent by making, using, selling, and offering to sell devices and software products covered by the '403 patent including operating systems for personal computers, phones, tablet devices, and other hardware, mobile devices with the Windows Phone 7 Operating System ("the Windows Phone 7 Products"), the Microsoft Surface with the Windows RT Operating System, the Microsoft Windows RT, Microsoft Windows 8, Microsoft Windows 8 Pro, and Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise Operating System for personal computers, and personal computers implementing the Microsoft Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows 8 Enterprise Operating System ("the Windows 8 Accused Products"), and all like products, collectively "the Accused Products," in Maine and throughout the United States.
The Accused Products employ a display with a user interface described by Microsoft as follows: "Through tiles on the Start screen, apps are alive with activity and can deliver vibrant content, even when they're not running. Using live tiles, your app can provide useful, at-a-glance data to the user, while minimizing battery usage. Windows Push Notification Services (WNS) enables your app to receive messages and send them to your app's live tile or provide a notification to the user."
On information and belief, on or about October 26, 2012, Microsoft began making, using, offering for sale and selling the Windows 8 Accused Products in Maine and throughout the United States.
On information and belief, on or about November 8, 2010, Microsoft began offering for sale and selling the Windows Phone 7 Products in Maine and throughout the United States. Microsoft's offer to sell and sale of the Accused Products constitutes infringement of one or more of the claims of the '403 patent, including but not limited to claims 1 and 22.
According to SurfCast, they've been injured and continue to be injured by Microsoft's offer to sell and sale of the Accused Products.
SurfCast Claims Four Counts of Infringement
SurfCast presents their patent infringement complaint against Microsoft in four counts. The first simply states that the '403 patent is being infringed by Microsoft and that they've been injured by said infringement.
In the remaining three counts, Surfcast makes separate arguments against Microsoft's 2011 patent number 7,933,632 titled "Tile space user interface for mobile devise."
SurfCast's gotcha moment comes into play when they point out that "During prosecution of the application that issued as the '632 patent, the Patent Examiner cited the '403 patent as relevant prior art as part of a Non-Final Rejection dated April 21, 2009." Accordingly, states SurfCast, "Microsoft had knowledge of the '403 patent at least as early as April 21, 2009." Whether that's enough to win a case is something to be determined at trial.
The case was filed in the United States District Court for Maine, Portland Office late on Tuesday. The presiding Judge in this case is noted as being Judge D. Brock Hornby.
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