How long can Funambol stay out of court?

In its patent suit against Motorola over Android, Microsoft claims to basically own the sync technology.

This week Funambol launched CAPRI, "an open source framework to ease development of sync-centric apps" for any phone using the Webkit browser.

The system is written in AJAX, and many developers will be pinging the CAPRI project page continuously until the software is finally released.

Funambol is best known for its work with SyncML, and bills itself as "the mobile cloud sync company." This has drawn it many allies over the years. (Yes, Virginia, you can build a successful company on open source.)

Synchronization is an important bit of business for mobile devices. I used it today to get around my AT&T phone's block of Google Maps, e-mailing myself some directions that my mobile phone now has ready for me.

The question occurs, though, whether all this is legal.

In its patent suit against Motorola over Android, Microsoft claims to basically own the sync technology:

The patents at issue relate to a range of functionality embodied in Motorola’s Android smartphone devices that are essential to the smartphone user experience, including synchronizing email, calendars and contacts,

Sounds a lot like SyncML.

Microsoft syncs mobile calendars and e-mail with a technology it calls ActiveSync.

There's another lawsuit looming from NTP, which has already sued nearly all the tech industry's largest companies, hoping to extract money for patents it claims over wireless e-mail. After winning $612 million from RIM over the same patents, it's hard to bet against them.

So how long can Funambol stay out of court?

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