Windows Update has been an integral part of Microsoft's operating systems for over a decade. It is used to provide numerous updates, patches, and fixes for Microsoft's operating sytems, office productivity suites, Internet browsers, and other Windows-based programs. Now, Isreal-based Backweb Technologies is suing Microsoft for what it claims is patent infringement. The lawsuit was officially filed in San Francisco federal court last Friday. Backweb Technologies cites violations of four of its US patents by Microsoft's Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS). BITS was released in 2001 with Windows XP and is now embedded in Windows Vista, Server 2003, and Server 2008. BITS is a file transfer program that runs in either the foreground or the background depending on computer usage. It is designed so that is does not affect other usage of the computer and is even capable of resuming work after a shut down or restart. The complaint states that, "Microsoft manufactures, uses, and sells products that infringe the three Transparent Update Patents." Backweb Technologies claims the fourth violation came from its 289 Patent when Microsoft released BITS v3.0 that was capable of peer-to-peer file transfers. Microsoft has not released an official statement on the matter yet.
The full lawsuit filing can be found here (beware, it is an 87 page PDF document).
Microsoft has seen its share of lawsuits recently: an Xbox 360 lawsuit that claims Microsoft had knowledge of hardware defects prior to release, PalTalk's Xbox Live lawsuit, and a lawsuit in Europe over monopolizing the Internet browser market.