Windows 8 Is Already Bringing Out The Patent Trolls

IT Management

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Every new technology brings with it the risk of patent litigation. It's an unfortunate reality that we must face. Windows 8 may have a broken a record, however, as its already on the receiving end of patent litigation after being available for less than a week.

Prior Smart reports that SurfCast, a Portland-based OS development company, has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft over its Live Tiles technology in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

So what does SurfCast's patents cover? A "system and method for simultaneous display of multiple information sources." The first patent was granted to them in 2004. The company's own Web site says just as much in their description.

SurfCast designs Operating System technology and has four issued patents with additional applications pending.

SurfCast designed a new concept referred to as 'Tiles'.

Tiles can be thought of as dynamically updating icons. A Tile is different from an icon because it can be both selectable and live -- containing refreshed content that provides a real-time or near-real-time view of the underlying information.

Tiles can provide dynamic bookmarking -- an at-a-glance view of the current status of the program, file, or content associated with it.

Tiles enable people to have all their content, applications, and resources, regardless of whether on their mobile device, tablet, computer, or in their Cloud -- visualized persistently -- dynamically updating.

That sure sounds a lot like Live Tiles, and the concept art from both SurfCast's and Microsoft's patents look remarkably similar. To be honest, SurfCast may actually have a case. It all depends on their arguments if Microsoft decides to fight this.

SurfCast names the entire line of Windows 8 software and hardware in its suit. Microsoft may have to pay a pretty penny if the lawsuit moves forward in court. The company may just settle out of court though.

It is strange that SurfCast has waited this long to bring its suit forward. Microsoft has been talking Live Tiles since Windows 8 was introduced and its own patent for Live Tiles has been around since April 2011. It's also strange that SurfCast, despite having its own patent for Tiles since 2004, has not done a single thing with said patents.

It's in these cases that patents for non-existent products should be reviewed and terminated. Patents should only be protected when the technologies detailed within them are used in actual products. Cybersquatting is punishable by law, so why is patent squatting tolerated?

[h/t: The Next Web]