While the Live Tiles feature in Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Phone 8 may be something new for PC and tablet users, it was actually introduced two years ago with the launch of Windows Phone 7, but a small operating system technology designing company by the name of SurfCast is just now suing Microsoft over the Live Tiles feature.
Back in October 2000, SurfCast filed for patent # 6,724,403 and was issued in April 2004. SurfCast describes the feature as tiles that “can be thought of as dynamically updating icons. A Tile is different from an icon because it can be both selectable and live — containing refreshed content that provides a real-time or near-real-time view of the underlying information.” This more or less describes what Microsoft’s Live Tiles are.
SurfCast says that because Microsoft provides ways for developers to create app tiles that can display information on the homescreen, they are also infringing upon its patent. The company says that the patent infringement affects all versions of Windows 8 and Windows RT, but not Windows Phone 8.
SurfCast requests that orders are submitted showing that Microsoft has directly infringed, and are also ordering Microsoft to “account and pay to SurfCast all damages caused to SurfCast by reason of Microsoft’s patent infringement.” However, a lot of legal experts are saying this is simply a troll maneuver, and that SurfCast –while owning three patents– have not made or sold anything of its own since they were founded in 2001. So, it’s very possible that Microsoft will reach a settlement and that the suit won’t carry on for much longer.
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