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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

Category: Intellectual property
December 23, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Apple, Microsoft-backed patent group cashes out as legal wrangling cools

The battle over smartphone patents continues to migrate from the courtroom to whatever room licenses are negotiated in.

The Rockstar Consortium, an Apple-led group formed in 2011 to buy Nortel Networks’ patents, will sell the bulk of those to RPX, a patent clearinghouse that acquires the rights to intellectual property to license to its members. RPX plans in turn to license those patents to a group of more than 30 companies, including Cisco and Google.

Rockstar, which in addition to Apple includes Microsoft, BlackBerry and Sony, spent $4.5 billion for the 6,000 patents auctioned by bankrupt Canadian telecom giant Nortel. Rockstar transferred about 2,000 of those patents to individual consortium companies, and spent the years since then licensing the remaining set to the wider tech world and taking to court those who allegedly used the technology without properly paying for it.

That hefty price tag Rockstar originally paid kept the patents out of Google’s hands, and also beat a bid by RPX. (Google memorably offered pi and other mathematical constants in its own attempt to buy the patents)


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February 25, 2009 at 2:13 PM

Microsoft suing portable GPS maker TomTom for patent infringement

Microsoft today filed a patent infringement suit against TomTom, the Amsterdam-based maker of portable GPS systems for in-car navigation, after more than a year of trying to reach a licensing arrangement, the company said. A Microsoft spokeswoman described the infringed patents as covering “inventions that enable a vehicle computer system to run multiple applications, provide more natural driving directions, integrate other devices, and access the Internet.”

[Update, 6:10 a.m. Thursday: A TomTom spokesman told Reuters, “We reject the claim and will vigorously defend ourselves.”]


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December 4, 2008 at 3:00 AM

Microsoft cracking down on pirates selling fake “Blue Edition” products


There’s no such thing as Microsoft Office 2007 Enterprise Blue Edition, or anything marketed by Microsoft as a “Blue Edition.” But software pirates still managed to sell copies of the counterfeit software for $9.95, burned onto blue discs and backed by a plausible-sounding story of their provenance. Today, Microsoft announced a wave of lawsuits targeting these software pirates and others involved in selling fakes through online auction sites.


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