In a move likely to be symbolic of future conflict, Microsoft has filed suit to invalidate several patents held by WebXChange, an online services provider. WebXchange has previously sued three Microsoft customers - Allstate Insurance Co, FedEx and Dell - for infringing those patents, which relate to online services. As Infoworld notes, these include FedEx's service where customers can send print jobs to Kinko's stores.
Microsoft's argument is that the patents were based on existing, published technologies and are thus invalid. The company is getting involved, it said in a statement, because WebXchange's actions "placed a cloud over Visual Studio software, Web services, and the SOAP protocol."