Microsoft sues TomTom over Linux and other patent claims

by Volker Weber

Microsoft filed suit against TomTom today, alleging that the in-car navigation company's devices violate eight of its patents -- including three that relate to TomTom's implementation of the Linux kernel.

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That's silly: they could easily buy TomTom for € 400.79m (as of today) ... in Microsoft's term peanuts.

And they will get for free TeleAtlas, which TomTom bought for aprox. € 2,900.00m a few months ago ;-)

Hajo Schmitt, 2009-02-26

Reminds me of this quote: "Today we learn a new phrase: cheng yi jing bai, which literally means to 'punish one, frighten one hundred.'"

Interesting further comments on LWN. One of the patents appears to be about the popular FAT file system, which is used more or less everywhere today. Another one:

6,202,008 (Vehicle computer system with wireless internet): "I would like to meet the clown from the patent office that pushed this through. This isn't just obvious - it's bloody trivial! Requirements: a bracket and two screws from you nearest hardware store." [..] "A smartphone in a little plastic holder would seem to qualify."

Hanno Zulla, 2009-02-26

More information:

They claim that this lawsuit has no relation whatsoever to Linux, and they're only targeting TomTom's specific implementation of Linux. I have actually reviewed the TomTom kernel sources a number of times during the last couple of years as part of gpl-compliance reviews. I can tell you, there is nothing "TomTom specific" in their FAT FS code. It is the plain fat/msdos/vfat file system like in every kernel.

Hanno Zulla, 2009-03-02

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