Microsoft Hit By Two More Texas Lawsuits


Microsoft’s legal troubles continue with two new lawsuits filed by smaller companies alleging patent infringement, both in East Texas

Microsoft finds itself the target of two new patent-infringement lawsuits, both filed in East Texas courts.

Filed by a small company named EMG Technology against not only Microsoft but also Scottrade and Southwest Airlines, the first lawsuit centers on both Patent 7020845, “Navigating Internet content on a television using a simplified interface and a remote control,” and Patent 7441196, “Apparatus and method of manipulating a region on a wireless device screen for viewing, zooming and scrolling Internet content.”

The suit alleges that Microsoft Windows CE, PocketPC and Windows Mobile all violate these patents; EMG Technology wants unspecified damages.

Another company, AllVoice Developments, also filed suit against Microsoft in East Texas over Patent 5799273, “Automated proofreading using interface linking recognized words to their audio data while text is being changed,” which AllVoice alleges has been violated by Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Smaller companies have perhaps been emboldened by the 11 Aug verdict handed down by a U.S. District Court in Eastern Texas that Microsoft had violated an XML-related patent held by i4i, a small Canadian company.

The judge in that case ordered Microsoft to stop selling “any Infringing and Future Word Products that have the capability of opening a .DOCX or .DOCM file (‘an XML file’) containing custom XML” within 60 days. That includes copies of Microsoft Word.

In addition, Microsoft has been ordered to pay nearly $300 million (£182m) in fines, including $37 million in prejudgment interest. A detailed breakdown of i4i’s patent by eWEEK can be found here.

Patent-infringement lawsuits against larger companies have a history of being won in that part of the Texas court system. In 2006, Microsoft and Nintendo were ordered to pay $21 million to Anascape, a small IT outfit, for violating a patent related to game controllers; as recently as July, another tiny company, Tsera, sued Microsoft, Apple and 21 other tech companies over a touch-screen patent.