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Microsoft sues TomTom over Linux and other patent claims

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Legal

Microsoft filed suit against TomTom today, alleging that the in-car navigation company's devices violate eight of its patents -- including three that relate to TomTom's implementation of the Linux kernel.

It's believed to be the first time Microsoft has filed a patent suit over Linux, after claiming for years that elements of the open-source operating system violate its patents. However, Microsoft says open-source software is not the intended focal point of the action. Five of the alleged patent violations relate to proprietary software.
Microsoft says it filed the case as a last resort, after trying for more than a year to reach an agreement with TomTom. We've requested comment from TomTom, and we'll update this post with the company's response.

The case, in U.S. District Court in Seattle and the International Trade Commission, is the third time Microsoft has brought such a suit, said Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for intellectual property. Both of the previous suits settled after they were filed. By comparison, Microsoft has struck more than 500 patent licensing deals in the past five years.

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