Microsoft today filed a federal lawsuit against Salesforce, alleging - what else? - infringement on patents, nine of them to be specific. The suit, filed in Seattle, argues that the infringement is willful and seeks monetary damages, as well as temporary and permanent injunctions, according to a CNET report.
The suit covers a number of features - such as user interface, as well as a system for "stacking toolbars in a computer display." None of the patents are related to Microsoft's own online CRM software, the heart of the Salesforce offering. In a statement, Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing:
Microsoft has been a leader and innovator in the software industry for decades and continues to invest billions of dollars each year in bringing great software products and services to market. We have a responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to safeguard that investment, and therefore cannot stand idly by when others infringe our IP rights.
According to the CNET report, Microsoft first notified Salesforce of the infringement more than a year ago. In January, Salesforce notified the Securities and Exchange Commission, as a risk factor that could affect the company, that "a large tech company" had alleged patent infringement. In that filing, Salesforce told regulators that it was looking into the allegations and potential outcomes. It told regulators that it could not offer assurances that it could avoid a suit and that the outcome of litigation and impact on the company was uncertain.
Also see: Mary Jo Foley: Microsoft sues Salesforce.com for alleged patent infringement