Thursday, 1 November 2012

Microsoft sued for patent infringement over Windows 8 live tiles

Microsoft has been slapped with a patent infringement lawsuit over its use of dynamic "live" tile icons in Windows, including in the newly launched Windows 8 OS for PCs and tablets and in the Windows Phone 8 OS for smartphones. SurfCast filed a complaint Tuesday with the U.S. District Court of Maine, claiming that Redmond's Windows Live Tiles on the company's smartphones and PCs infringe on one of its patents.

Microsoft's Live Tiles have been part of the company's interface since the launch of Windows Phone 7 two years ago, and were recently incorporated into Windows 8 and the upcoming Windows Phone 8. SurfCast claims that Redmond is stepping on a patent issued in April 2004. The patent covers the ability to select multiple information sources, each assigned to a different tile and updated periodically.

In the Portland-based SurfCast's complaint, the company alleges four counts of infringement, based on Microsoft's use of Live Tiles. The company repeatedly pointed to Redmond's own patent for a "tile space user interface for mobile devices" — saying that it was used as a reference during SurfCast's patent application in 2000.

Additionally, Surfcast said that Microsoft's allowing developers to build Windows 8 apps, which are then submitted to the Windows Store, also infringe on its patent.

The patents are similar, The Next Web reported. They both detail"systems and methods for providing a user interface mobile devices enable data and services available through mobile device to be represented as a set of tiles maintained as a display space. SurfCast carries has four patents, with more pending. Its website explains the Tiles concept as dynamically updating icons" that are selectable and live, with refreshed content providing real-time or near-real-time information.

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