Microsoft Sued Over Windows Update

According to a US District Court filing in San Francisco last week, an Israeli software firm named BackWeb Technologies is suing Microsoft for infringing on its patents in Windows Update, the cloud-based software updating service. BackWeb's patents date back to 1999, the company claims.

Microsoft has been providing the Windows Update service to customers since 1998, when it debuted alongside Windows 98. But BackWeb's patents relate to a Microsoft technology called Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), which debuted as part of Windows XP in 2001 and makes Windows Update—and other network-based file transfers—more efficient. BITS was updated in 2007 to support peer-to-peer transfers as well.

The BackWeb court filing describes four patents covering numerous patent claims that are allegedly infringed on by Windows Update. These include "novel methods and processes for transmitting digital information in background mode over a communications link" and "a unique and novel method for distributing data packages across a hybrid peer-to-peer network."

BackWeb further claims that Microsoft's infringement is deliberate because the software giant is aware of BackWeb ownership of the related patents. Thus, Microsoft's infringement is "unlawful and willful" and BackWeb is seeking damages.

As of this writing, Microsoft says it has yet to be served by the court, so it cannot comment on the matter

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