The cases have been settled through a patent agreement under which TomTom will pay Microsoft for coverage under the eight car navigation and file management systems patents in the Microsoft case, while Microsoft receives coverage under the four patents included in the TomTom countersuit. The specific financial terms of this five-year term agreement were not disclosed.
The agreement includes patent coverage for Microsoft’s three file management systems patents provided in a manner that is fully compliant with TomTom’s obligations under the General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2). TomTom will remove from its products the functionality related to two file management system patents (the “FAT LFN patents”), which enables efficient naming, organizing, storing and accessing of file data. TomTom will remove this functionality within two years, and the agreement provides for coverage directly to TomTom’s end customers under these patents during that time.
“We are pleased TomTom has chosen to resolve the litigation amicably by entering into a patent agreement”, stated Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft. “We were able to work with TomTom to develop a patent agreement that addresses their needs and ours in a pragmatic way. When addressing IP infringement issues, there are two possible paths: securing patent coverage or not using the technology at issue. Through this agreement, TomTom is choosing a combination of both paths to meet the unique needs of its business, and we are glad to help them do so.”
Peter Spours, Director of IP Strategy and Transactions at TomTom N.V., added: “This agreement puts an end to the litigation between our two companies. It is drafted in a way that ensures TomTom’s full compliance with its obligations under the GPLv2, and thus reaffirms our commitment to the open source community.”
Unlike many comments posted on our previous article (read here) it was indeed possible for TomTom to settle this litigation while remaining compliant with its Open Source commitment.