Microsoft sued over wireless email patents

Out-Law News | 16 Dec 2005 | 2:03 pm | 1 min. read

Wireless email solutions provider Visto Corporation filed suit against Microsoft yesterday, alleging that the computer giant has breached Visto patents that allow mobile access to email and other data.

The suit is targeting Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 5.0 software, which is currently being used by, among others, Palm.

“Microsoft has a long and well-documented history of acquiring the technology of others, branding it as their own, and entering new markets,” said Visto CEO, Brian Bogosian.

“In some cases, they buy that technology from its creator. In other cases, they wrongfully misappropriate the intellectual property that belongs to others, which has forced them to acknowledge and settle large IP cases with companies like Sun, AT&T and Burst.com,” he said. “For their foray into mobile email and data access, Microsoft simply decided to misappropriate Visto’s well known and documented patented technology.”

The suit relates to three patents covering a system that sends email from personal or business servers to mobile devices, without requiring a manual download, and allows users to access sensitive data and email stored behind highly secure corporate firewalls.

Filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, the suit alleges that Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 5.0 is a blatant infringement of Visto’s patented technology. The complaint seeks a permanent injunction and damages.

Microsoft has made no comment on the suit, other than to stress, “Microsoft stands behind its products and respects the intellectual property rights of others”.

Visto also announced on Wednesday that it had signed a licensing agreement with NTP Inc, a small holding company involved in a bitter patent dispute with BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion. Under the agreement, Visto will have access to NTP's patents for the life of those patents, while NTP gains an equity stake in Visto.

"This license agreement further reinforces the strength and validity of NTP founder Thomas Campana's life-long work in the mobile communications industry as an inventor and a visionary," said Donald E. Stout, co-founder of NTP, Inc. “Additionally, this is a clear win for mobile email users everywhere as it provides them with a viable alternative to RIM that protects them from any NTP litigation risk.”