Microsoft sued over use of Live tiles in Windows

Barely a week passed when Microsoft launched the newest OS – Windows 8, the company has started facing lawsuits. This one is a Portland based OS development company, SurfCast. The self-proclaimed operating-system designer headquartered in Portland, Maine alleges that the software giant has infringed and is continuing to infringe SurfCast’s U.S. Patent No. 6,724,403 with its Windows 8 and Surface products.

The complaint mainly refers to the use of Live Tiles in Windows 8 style interface which SurfCast claims it has developed.

Ovid Santoro, CEO of the SurfCast Company said:

We developed the concept of Tiles in the 1990s, which was ahead of its time. Microsoft Live Tiles are the centerpiece of Microsoft’s new Operating Systems and are covered by our patent.

The CEO of the company further adds that Microsoft had the knowledge of the patent but still went ahead in spite of having an understanding of the risks and the possible dangers involved.

All Surfcast wants from the Windows Company is to account for and pay to SurfCast all damages caused by reason of the patent infringement.

At first impressions, if you visit the site – it appears to have just a few pages with thin content – almost although it had been hurriedly put up.

The home page states:

SurfCast designs Operating System technology and has four issued patents with additional applications pending. SurfCast designed a new concept referred to as ‘Tiles’. Tiles can be thought of as dynamically updating icons. A Tile is different from an icon because it can be both selectable and live — containing refreshed content that provides a real-time or near-real-time view of the underlying information…..Tiles can be thought of as dynamically updating icons. A Tile is different from an icon because it can be selectable and live—containing refreshed content that provides a real-time or near-real-time view of the underlying information…..

The company appears to hold patents for 5 technologies filed between 2000 and 2008, one of which Microsoft has infringed upon – says the company.

There is only one news item on the site:

SurfCast, Inc. headquartered in Portland Maine, today filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court of Maine against Microsoft, Inc. alleging that Microsoft has infringed and is infringing Surfcast’s U.S. Patent No. 6,724,403 with its Windows 8 and Surface products, among others.

Although the description may sound similar to Microsoft’s description of Live Tiles, the patent/s appears to apply to a device under control of a program not a software in any way.

Whether it’s a genuine case or whether it’s a Patent troll, trying to make some money – that is yet to be seen.

Microsoft is still to comment on the patent infringement charges put forth by SurfCast.

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Susannah Lindsay quit her job a few years back to settle down in a life of domesticity. She has been living in Los Angeles for the last three years, and enjoys following new gadget releases and the latest happenings on the technological front.