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Google and Microsoft Joining Forces to Battle Patent Troll

Category: General News
Posted: 07:16PM

Typically, Google and Microsoft are seen as rivals in the computer industry, but not this time. The two giants are joining forces in order to battle a patent troll in the courts, one who has accused customers of both Google and Microsoft. This patent troll is called GeoTag, Inc, which has sued just under 400 different companies for infringing on a patent, one that google and Microsoft claim should never have been granted. This patent covers a depiction of geographical data, either in a map or text, and then provides information about resources nearby, ones such as businesses, restaurants, and the like. Most, or even all, of the companies GeoTag, Inc is suing use a store locator feature on its website which enables customers to enter a ZIP code and then find the nearest locations of that company. Those maps used are either Google Maps or Bing Maps, which in turn makes all of those businesses a customer of the two giants.

Google and Microsoft are seeking a permanent injunction preventing GeoTag, Inc from suing its customers and is even seeking to have some or all of the patent claims invalidated. The patent itself has a bit of a history as it was filed in 1996 and then granted in 1999. Afterwards, it has since been sold and re-sold by a variety of companies, and two years ago, it was sold to Antigua-based electronic payment services firm Ubixo for $119 million. Ubixo then spun GeoTag, Inc off as a separate company in July, 2010, and that is now attempting to raise money via an IPO. The only patent GeoTag has is the one in question, and since it is suing nearly 400 companies, it makes it a patent troll. GeoTag's sole purpose is to sue other companies who use that patent because it itself has nothing using it. Google and Microsoft both know this and considering the deep pockets both possess, the battle will be settled in court. We'll see exactly what the courts decide on the matter, but somehow I don't see GeoTag as having much to back up.

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