TomTom Settles Microsoft Patent Dispute

Car navigation maker TomTom has settled a patent dispute with Microsoft and will pay the software giant an undisclosed sum for the right to utilize technology covered by eight Microsoft patents. Microsoft had previously sued TomTom in February, accusing the company of infringing on its patents for car navigation systems that perform multiple tasks simultaneously.

"We're pleased that TomTom has chosen to resolve the litigation amicably by entering into a patent agreement," Microsoft Corporate Vice President Horacio Gutierrez said. "We're able to work with TomTom to develop a patent agreement that addresses their needs and ours in a pragmatic way. When addressing IP infringement issues, there are two possible paths: securing patent coverage or not using the technology at issue. Through this agreement, TomTom is choosing a combination of both paths to meet the unique needs of its business, and we're glad to help them do so."

According to the agreement, TomTom will also remove some file-organization features from its products over the next two years. And although TomTom had countersued Microsoft as part of its legal battles, Microsoft has made no concessions to the other company.

There was some speculation when Microsoft first sued TomTom that this was somehow the opening salvo in a long-imagined patent battle between the software giant and the open-source community, since TomTom apparently uses some open-source software components. However, despite much spittle and fire from the Linux crowd, this aspect of the suit was never a reality, and the issue quickly died.

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