Why Is Microsoft Suing TomTom?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. You've probably heard by now that Microsoft is suing GPS device maker TomTom
    for patent infringement. Among the patents listed in the suit are ones for
    the FAT filesystem. Code for this is a standard part of the Linux kernel,
    which TomTom uses. However, Microsoft has repeatedly tried to claim that
    this lawsuit is nothing to do with Linux per se, and everything to do with
    what TomTom is doing. Which is rubbish.

    Looks like someone has come up with an interesting theory behind this: that
    TomTom has been pressured to sign a licence deal with Microsoft covering
    FAT, which of course violates the patent-protection provisions in the GPL.
    Any such deal would be under NDA, so nobody knows for sure. But if TomTom
    agrees to this, then it forfeits the right to redistribute Linux. If it has
    refused to do so, that might be the real reason for the lawsuit.

    <http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-276211.html>,
    <http://blogs.zdnet.com/perlow/?p=9594>
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 6, 2009
    #1
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  2. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Richard Guest

    Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    > You've probably heard by now that Microsoft is suing GPS device maker TomTom
    > for patent infringement. Among the patents listed in the suit are ones for
    > the FAT filesystem. Code for this is a standard part of the Linux kernel,
    > which TomTom uses. However, Microsoft has repeatedly tried to claim that
    > this lawsuit is nothing to do with Linux per se, and everything to do with
    > what TomTom is doing. Which is rubbish.
    >
    > Looks like someone has come up with an interesting theory behind this: that
    > TomTom has been pressured to sign a licence deal with Microsoft covering
    > FAT, which of course violates the patent-protection provisions in the GPL.
    > Any such deal would be under NDA, so nobody knows for sure. But if TomTom
    > agrees to this, then it forfeits the right to redistribute Linux. If it has
    > refused to do so, that might be the real reason for the lawsuit.
    >
    > <http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-276211.html>,
    > <http://blogs.zdnet.com/perlow/?p=9594>


    How does this license restriction affect people selling linux based
    things with an MP3 decoder on them? Those have to be licensed if you are
    to sell into most civilized countries.
    Richard, Mar 6, 2009
    #2
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  3. In message <>, Allistar wrote:

    > Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    >
    >> Looks like someone has come up with an interesting theory behind this:
    >> that TomTom has been pressured to sign a licence deal with Microsoft
    >> covering FAT, which of course violates the patent-protection provisions
    >> in the GPL.

    >
    > Only the GPLv3, which the Linux kernel is not released under.


    We're talking about GPLv2.
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 6, 2009
    #3
  4. In message <gopuqi$qu3$>, Richard wrote:

    > How does this license restriction affect people selling linux based
    > things with an MP3 decoder on them? Those have to be licensed if you are
    > to sell into most civilized countries.


    Actually, the MP3 patent is not applicable in most civilized countries.
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 6, 2009
    #4
  5. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Your Name Guest

    "Lawrence D'Oliveiro" <_zealand> wrote in message
    news:goptha$o45$...
    > You've probably heard by now that Microsoft is suing GPS device maker

    TomTom
    > for patent infringement. Among the patents listed in the suit are ones for
    > the FAT filesystem. Code for this is a standard part of the Linux kernel,
    > which TomTom uses. However, Microsoft has repeatedly tried to claim that
    > this lawsuit is nothing to do with Linux per se, and everything to do with
    > what TomTom is doing. Which is rubbish.

    <Snip>

    Microsloth have obviously run out of products to steal or buy out and they
    have to try and make money somehow - Zune is a failure, Vista is a worse
    than XP, the XBox 360 (when you can find one that doesn't crash) is being
    beaten by Nintendo's Wii, ... the list is nearly endless. :)
    Your Name, Mar 6, 2009
    #5
  6. In message <>, Allistar wrote:

    > What provisions in GPLv2 have anything to do with patents?


    <http://letmegooglethatforyou.com/?q=gplv2>
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 6, 2009
    #6
  7. In message <goptha$o45$>, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:

    > Looks like someone has come up with an interesting theory behind this:
    > that TomTom has been pressured to sign a licence deal with Microsoft
    > covering FAT, which of course violates the patent-protection provisions in
    > the GPL. Any such deal would be under NDA, so nobody knows for sure. But
    > if TomTom agrees to this, then it forfeits the right to redistribute
    > Linux. If it has refused to do so, that might be the real reason for the
    > lawsuit.


    It's not speculation, it's been confirmed as fact by a Microsoft VP
    <http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=3753>:

    When asked specifically if “there are companies using Linux and open-
    source software, which have signed FAT patent cross-licensing
    agreements, such as the ones, which TomTom has refused to agree to?â€
    Gutierrez replied, “Yes, other companies have signed FAT patent
    licenses, both in the context of patent cross licensing agreements and
    other licensing arrangements.â€

    So now we know, there are a bunch of GPL violators out there.
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 7, 2009
    #7
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