STORY NOW UPDATED WITH MICROSOFT RESPONSE
Shortly after settling a patent license with NTP, mobile email software company Visto has decided to file action against Microsoft for alleged misues of Visto's proprietary technology.
Further to our story below we now have this response from Microsoft. "Until we have an opportunity to review this complaint and investigate Visto’s allegations, we're not in a position to comment specifically on them. In the meantime, however, we wish to underscore that Microsoft stands behind its products and respects the intellectual property rights of others.”
Visto, which is providing the technology behind, amongst others, Vodafone's mobile email service, has alleged that Microsoft has infringed on its patents for providing mobile acces to email and other data.
Visto ceo Brian Bogosian, well known to Mobile Europe readers for his forthright views, delivered a typically stinging attack on Microsoft in a company statement.
“For more than a decade, small, innovative companies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere have lived in fear of the day Microsoft decides to enter their market,” Bogosian said. “They are a big, powerful, wealthy company, but they have no real growth, even in their most profitable divisions. They want to show investors that they can sustain growth in a new, developing market, like mobile access to email and data, but they cannot be permitted to do that by misappropriating another company's intellectual property.”
“Innovative companies have been pummeled out of existence or into minor players after Microsoft decided to enter their markets,” Bogosian added. “Netscape and RealNetworks are among the best known examples. Courts around the world have ruled time after time against Microsoft, saying that it has acted either inappropriately or in violation of the law, especially concerning how they have treated competing companies. We will not let that happen to Visto.”
Company co-founder Daniel Mendez, who developed the disputed technology, said now the mobile email mrket looks like a banker, companies are trying to cash in on work he developed when the concept was still only that.
“With the recent explosion in smart phone technology and demand for mobile email access, the market has caught up with Visto's original vision,” said Mr. Méndez.
“We worked many long nights over many years and invested heavily to develop and patent our technology at a time when many people thought we were working on future fantasies. Now, when the market potential is obvious to everyone, other companies want to misappropriate the technologies that we invented and to benefit, for free, from our hard work and innovation.”
The suit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Visto asserts that Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5.0 is "a blatant infringement on Visto's patented technology".
"Visto's concerns about this market are heightened by Microsoft's recent decision to bundle Windows Mobile 5.0 with their already market-dominating Exchange server software. This method of bundling software has led Microsoft to be prosecuted by competition authorities in the past, and in this case, potentially increases the rate and manner in which their infringement on Visto's patents occurs," Visto said.
Visto's lawsuit specifically alleges that Microsoft has infringed on three patents relating to its mobile access to email and data technology:
U.S. Patent No. 6,085,192 titled, “System And Method For Securely Synchronizing Multiple Copies Of A Workspace Element In A Network”
U.S. Patent No. 6,708,221 titled, “System And Method For Globally And Securely Accessing Unified Information In A Computer Network”
U.S. Patent No. 6,151,606 titled, “System And Method For Using A Workspace Data Manager To Access, Manipulate And Synchronize Network Data”
The complaint seeks a permanent injunction that would prohibit Microsoft from continuing to misappropriate Visto's intellectual property. The company also seeks monetary damages as compensation for Microsoft's illegal actions.
“We are confident that our country's legal system will uphold the protections provided for in the law. The law protects innovators from corporate predators – large or small –including those with well documented histories of bad corporate behavior,” said Mr. Bogosian.