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Microsoft embroiled in fresh patent suit over Live Tiles in Windows 8 and Windows Phone

Published Oct 31st, 2012 5:27PM EDT
Microsoft Live Tiles Lawsuit

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A small company that designs technology for operating systems filed a patent complaint against Microsoft (MSFT) over its Windows Phone and Windows 8 platform. SurfCast alleges that Microsoft’s operating system infringes one of its patents that details “making, using, selling, and offering to sell devices and software products.” The lawsuit targets the company’s mobile devices running both Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8, as well as PCs using Windows 8 and Windows RT. SurfCast’s patent broadly covers information that can be assigned to a tile and be updated at different refresh rates, similar to the Live Tiles Microsoft uses in its Metro user interface. The patent is not for pure software purposes, however, but rather “a device under control of a program” and “an electronic readable memory to direct an electronic device,” Nilay Patel of The Verge explained, adding that Microsoft is now being targeted because it is no longer just a software vendor. SurfCast claims that the Redmond, Washington-based company is contributing to infringement by encouraging developers to make apps with live tiles and because of that is seeking an undisclosed amount of damages.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.