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3 April 2020

TomTom and Microsoft reach agreement in patent lawsuits

filing cabinets TomTom and Microsoft settle patent lawsuitsDutch GPS maker TomTom and Microsoft have reached a settlement agreement in regards to the companies’ respective patent lawsuits.

According to  a statement released by Microsoft this morning, the “cases have been settled through a patent agreement under which TomTom will pay Microsoft for coverage under the eight car navigation and file management systems patents in the Microsoft case.”

Also under the agreement, Microsoft will receive coverage under the four patents TomTom alleged the software maker infringed in its Streets & Maps product.  However, Microsoft won’t pay TomTom for the use of those patents under the terms of the 5-year agreement.

Furthermore, the statement continues, “TomTom will remove from its products the functionality related to two file management systems patents…within two years.”  Until then, Microsoft has agreed to not sue TomTom GPS users.

While the financial terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed, many questions have been left unanswered in relation to whether Microsoft’s FAT file naming patents are even enforceable and why TomTom agreed to settle so quickly.  While I won’t discuss the ramifications for the Linux community here–Techmeme has complete coverage–I think the settlement was in the best interests of TomTom.  While it would have been nice to see if the FAT patents held up in court, I’m not sure TomTom has the financial resources in this economy to pull off a massive legal fight.  Presumably that was one of the reasons it joined the Open Invention Network a week ago.

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