Vringo subsidiary sues Microsoft, claims patent infringement

Summary:A subsidiary of intellectual property firm Vringo is taking on Microsoft in the courts in a patent-infringement suit.

A subsidiary of intellectual property firm Vringo is suing Microsoft for allegedly infringing two of its patents, the firm said in a press release this morning.

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Wholly owned subsidiary firm I/P Engine filed the suit in the Southern District of New York against Microsoft.

I/P Engine is seeking a judgment from the court declaring that Microsoft did infringe its patents and requests the court to award past and future damages through royalties and "any form of recoverable economic injury."

The two patents relate to US Patent No. 6,314,420 and US Patent No. 6,775,664, which detail essentially the foundation framework to how a search engine works. However, it's not yet clear exactly which Microsoft product or service these patents relate to, though Bing would be the likely guess. We're seeking clarification from Vringo on this.

In August, Vringo sold 9.6 million shares for $31.2 million to buy more than 500 patents and patents pending from Nokia--a partner of Microsoft's in the smartphone space-- which was then used to sue ZTE in a UK court. The patent portfolio was only worth about $22 million, making the deal worthwhile for Nokia, but ultimately in the long run even better for Vringo, which may be able to reap even greater rewards from the ongoing lawsuit. That is, if it wins.

It's not the first time the company--or one of its subsidiaries--has taken a technology behemoth to court. Late last year, Vringo went to court to seek hundreds of millions of dollars from Google, AOL, and others. The patent hoarder only collected a fraction of its total requested amount in damages.

We've put in questions to Microsoft, but did not hear back at the time of writing. Microsoft declined to comment. We're also waiting for Vringo to upload the court documents to see what the details are. We'll update the piece when we have more.

Topics: Microsoft, Patents

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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