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Re: TomTom to contest Microsoft patent lawsuit ..


From: amicus_curious
Subject: Re: TomTom to contest Microsoft patent lawsuit ..
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 2009 09:12:40 -0500


"Vincent" <address@hidden> wrote in message news:address@hidden
On Sun, 01 Mar 2009 17:20:57 -0500, amicus_curious wrote:


My own feeling is that the Open Invention Network and the FSF, too, are
a bunch of pud knockers without much money in the bank and not much of a
chance to horn in on this issue.  They could try to sue Microsoft for
some sort of infringement somewhere, but they could have done that at
any time they thought they had a case, just as many others have done.
Some have won and others have lost.  It is expensive to lose, however,
and you need some real money to get to sit at the table.

Very few companies on this planet have the resources to fight a company
like Microsoft.
If TomTom has indeed violated patents they should be required to
compensate the company whose patents they have violated.
The problem is, determining this is a very expensive proposition for both
sides.

Well Microsoft has already made that determination to their own satisfaction at their own cost and now thinks that they can show a jury how and where Tom-Tom is in violation. Tom-Tom has to show that it is not the case or that the patent is not valid due to any of a variety of reasons, prior art being the most popular. A big problem for Tom-Tom is that, if they lose, they have to pay for the Microsoft effort required to uncover the infringement along with the rest of the legal expenses. Given the uncertainty of a jury decision (remember OJ?) it is a tough decision to make.

If Microsoft's three patents vis-a-vis Linux that are being asserted
against Tom-Tom were found to be invalid, Microsoft could not collect
any license fees in the future for their use, obviously, and that would
cost them whatever revenue stream is derived from that sort of license.
I really doubt that it is very much money, though, compared to the
oceans of bucks that Microsoft runs through each year.

Conspiracy theorists are wondering if there is more involved, like the
first attack at Linux albeit by proxy.

Conspiracy theorists will always wonder about everything. Do you work for a large company? Think about how your company works internally. It is not a monolith with a single minded focus. None of these companies are. They are vast collections of individuals and groups all trying for some local optimization of their business. The MS patent department is no different than any other patent department. They justify their existence by fussing about with patents. Fish gotta swim and lawyers have to litigate or else threaten to do so.

You have to remember, too, that these cases are decided by people who
have next to no technical understanding of anything.  If you think the
patent examiners are bad, consider that the jury is likely to see the
examiner as an absolute expert.  What chance does logic have here?

That is the biggest problem and in fact is also a fatal flaw in the
patent system itself.

But it is embedded in the US Constitution and in over 200 years of laws and litigation. It is not going away and trial by jury is even more deeply embedded. And the US is not alone in having this condition.

I'll bet TomTom is kicking themselves for not using ext2 instead of FAT.
It probably would have been cheaper to develop some kind of interface
software that would allow Windows to talk to ext2 transparently so the
user could just view the device as a mass storage unit like it is using
FAT.
Maybe some oss code exists for this function already, I do not know.

I doubt that the file system is Tom-Tom's biggest issue. There are hundreds of companies licensing FAT now and I doubt that the fees are very high. Tom-Tom's problem is with the navigation patents and their relationship to automotive use and highway travel. If other GPS companies like Garmin have seen the light, there is a good chance that Tom-Tom is in a poor position.


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