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August 21, 2006

Timeline sues Microsoft over database patent

Posted by David Hunter at 9:11 AM ET.

Timeline press release:

Timeline, Inc. (OTC BB:TMLN.OB) announced that it has terminated a limited license to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) under Timeline’s patents. In conjunction with the termination of the license, Timeline has filed a motion in federal district court in Seattle asking the court to add Microsoft as a defendant in Timeline, Inc. v. ProClarity Corp.

In the new complaint, Timeline alleges that Microsoft SQL Server infringes Timeline’s patents by creating databases for on line analytical processing (OLAP). The new complaint also alleges that Microsoft breached the terms of a 1999 agreement that gave it a limited license under Timeline’s patents. The scope of the license in the 1999 agreement was previously the subject of extensive litigation between the parties. In 2002, a final decision of the Washington Court of Appeals held in Timeline’s favor.

There’s more by following the link including:

After 28 years of developing, marketing and supporting innovative software applications, Timeline, Inc. recently reorganized around a dedicated effort to license its intellectual property to the industry at large.

Jeremy Kirk at InfoWorld has more:

Microsoft and Timeline have a lengthy legal history. Microsoft licensed technology from Timeline for its SQL Server in 1999.

But both companies came to legal blows over whether Microsoft could sublicense the technology to other companies that added other programs to the database software, such as ProClarity.

A Washington state judge ruled in 2003 that Microsoft’s ability to sublicense the technology was “substantially limited,” and Timeline was entitled to licensing fees.

Update: Note that Microsoft acquired ProClarity in April.

Update: On October 22, 2007, an SEC filing by Timeline revealed that Microsoft settled this suit for $5 million.

Filed under Microsoft, Patent Lawsuits, Patents

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