Los Angeles – Though it was only launched a week ago, Microsoft is already being sued for patent infringement over its Windows 8 Live Tiles. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by SurfCast in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine. In its court documents, the Portland, Maine based company claims it owns the intellectual property for Live Tiles, the most popular feature of Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system. The lawsuit further alleges that the dynamic tiles system used in Windows 8 infringes on SurfCast’s patent for a “System and Method for Simultaneous Display of Multiple Information Sources.”
SurfCast patent number 6,724,403 was issued in 2004, and specifically includes a unique tile grid format and a process by which the grid refreshes to show the most updated information. “We developed the concept of Tiles in the 1990′s, which was ahead of its time,” SurfCast CEO Ovid Santoro said in a statement on the company’s Website. As such, SurfCast insists that Microsoft’s Live Tiles, the centerpiece of Microsoft’s new operating systems, are a deliberate copy of the SurfCast patent. In its court documents, SurfCast claims that Microsoft lists its patent as prior art and yet continues to instruct its developers to make apps that infringe its patent. SurfCast is asking for monetary damages related to contributory infringement and the “direct willful infringement” by Microsoft of its patented functionality.
Despite SurfCast’s claims, Microsoft states that it has its own patent that covers the Live Tile technology. Microsoft’s patent number 7,933,632, covers “tile space user interfaces for mobile devices”. According to the USPTO, Microsoft’s patent includes “tiles that provide a snapshot of the current state of content available through the mobile device without requiring any interaction by the user.” The tiles and display space are customizable and can be dynamically updated to display content to a user. A statement released by Microsoft this week stated, “we are confident we will prove to the court that these claims are without merit and that Microsoft has created a unique user experience”.