TomTom, Microsoft settle: Who caved?

Microsoft and TomTom said Monday that they have settled their respective patent infringement suits, which raised patent issues with everything from file system patents to the General Public License for open source software. Once you read the press release the next natural question is: Who caved?

Microsoft and TomTom said Monday that they have settled their respective patent infringement suits, which raised patent issues with everything from file system patents to the General Public License for open source software. 

Once you read the press release the next natural question is: Who caved?

Microsoft's suit garnered attention because it was the first time the software giant filed a suit over its assertion that Linux infringes on its intellectual property.

However, the settlement doesn't seem to answer a lot.  In many respects, the settlement release reads like one of those Securities and Exchange Commission deals. The SEC and the company in question settle, but no one admits or denies guilt. 

Also see: Microsoft: Litigate on FAT, and you'll be the next Unisys

Consider the moving parts of the settlement:

  • TomTom will pay Microsoft for the eight car navigation and file management system patents in the case. 
  • Microsoft gets coverage for four patents in TomTom's countersuit. 
  • Microsoft doesn't pay TomTom. 
  • Past and future sales are covered where the patents are in question. 
  • TomTom's patent coverage for Microsoft's three file management system (FAT) patents allow it to remain compliant under the General Public License version 2 (GPLv2). 
  • TomTom will remove two FAT patents from its products and has two years to do it. TomTom's customers get patent coverage in the meantime. 
  • Both sides say they are happy and that the open source community should be happy too. 

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