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Microsoft sues TomTom over GPS technology

Lawsuit claims satnav maker infringed 8 patents

Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against TomTom, alleging that the GPS vendor's in-car navigation devices infringe on its patents.

Microsoft is alleging that TomTom is infringing eight patents, including five that enhance the user experience and connectivity on navigation devices including satnav devices and PDAs. Microsoft is seeking damages and relief from TomTom.

The legal action was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington. Microsoft has also filed a patent infringement complaint against TomTom with the US International Trade Commission.

Microsoft engaged in discussions with TomTom to license the technologies, but an agreement could not be reached, said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft. The software giant had "no choice but to pursue legal action to protect our innovations and our partners who license them", Gutierrez said.

TomTom did not immediately respond to request for comment.

TomTom Go 540

TomTom Go 540

TomTom's portable navigation devices run a version of the Linux OS to provide driving directions and other functions. Microsoft said that five of the patents focus on improving in-car navigation technology, including the ability to run multiple applications, virtual on-screen tools and wireless internet connectivity.

The remaining three patents relate to file management, enabling "efficient naming, organising, storing and accessing of file data", a Microsoft spokeswoman said.

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