TomTom countersues Microsoft on navigation patents

Less than a month after Microsoft sued TomTom, TomTom is fighting back with a patent lawsuit filed in the Eastern District Court of Virginia. TomTom is alleging in its suit, filed on March 16, that Microsoft infringes with its Streets and Trips program (a PC-based navigation software) on four TomTom patents.

Over the years TomTom has built up a strong IP portfolio of navigation patents both through acquisitions and its own research activity. Because TomTom came rather late to the navigation space, when it started facing lawsuits (against Garmin) the Dutch company was in need of early, broad patents for cross licensing situations. Some of these were bought from Horizon navigation in June 2007 for $29 million. Within the patent set named in this litigation two were bought from Visteon and the two others from Horizon Navigation.

As usual, it is likely that these two lawsuits between TomTom and Microsoft will never make it to court, but rather be settled between the two parties before lawyer’s fees skyrocket into an endless trial.

Monday, March 23rd 2009

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