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December 15, 2005

Push email provider Visto sues Microsoft

Posted by David Hunter at 8:41 AM ET.

Visto press release:

Visto Corporation has filed a legal action against Microsoft for misappropriating Visto’s intellectual property. The complaint asserts that Microsoft has infringed upon multiple patents Visto holds regarding proprietary technology that provides enterprises and consumers with mobile access to their email and other data. The company is seeking a permanent injunction that would prohibit Microsoft from misappropriating the technology that Visto and its cofounder helped develop nearly a decade ago.

Brian A. Bogosian, Visto’s Chairman, CEO and President, will hold a press teleconference this afternoon at 2:00 pm Eastern Time / 11:00 am Pacific Time to discuss the lawsuit and answer questions from members of the media. [teleconference details elided]

“Microsoft has a long and well-documented history of acquiring the technology of others, branding it as their own, and entering new markets,” said Mr. Bogosian. “In some cases, they buy that technology from its creator. In other cases, they wrongfully misappropriate the intellectual property that belongs to others, which has forced them to acknowledge and settle large IP cases with companies like Sun, AT&T and Burst.com. For their foray into mobile email and data access, Microsoft simply decided to misappropriate Visto’s well known and documented patented technology.”

Concerning the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Visto asserts that Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 5.0 is a blatant infringement on Visto’s patented technology. Visto’s concerns about this market are heightened by Microsoft’s recent decision to bundle Windows Mobile 5.0 with their already market-dominating Exchange server software. This method of bundling software has led Microsoft to be prosecuted by competition authorities in the past, and in this case, potentially increases the rate and manner in which their infringement on Visto’s patents occurs.

The complaint seeks a permanent injunction that would prohibit Microsoft from continuing to misappropriate Visto’s intellectual property. The company also seeks monetary damages as compensation for Microsoft’s illegal actions.

More details by following the link.

Visto is privately held, headquartered in Redwood Shores, CA, and was just in the news yesterday for an intellectual property deal with NTP:

Wireless e-mail firm Visto Corp., a rival of BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion Ltd., has signed a licensing agreement with patent holding company NTP Inc., the two firms said on Wednesday.

NTP is best known for a patent infringement ruling it won against RIM in 2002. It is currently seeking a court injunction to shut down the popular BlackBerry e-mail service in the United States.

NTP already has licensing deals with Good Technology, another closely held RIM rival, and Nokia, the world’s largest mobile phone maker.

The two firms said the latest agreement gives closely held Visto access to NTP’s patents until they expire. They said NTP had also acquired an equity stake in Visto.

Visto isn’t just a patent holding company like NTP. They do have their push email offerings in active use around the world:

Visto’s customers include Vodafone Group Plc, the world’s biggest mobile service provider, as well as U.S. market leader Cingular Wireless, a venture of AT&T Inc. and BellSouth, and Sprint Nextel Corp.

Update: For more on the background of the Visto and NTP deal see NTP Sticks It to RIM.



Filed under Coopetition, Legal, Patents, RIM, Visto, Windows Mobile

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