Patents has always been one of the pain points for tech companies, especially the larger ones, and Microsoft is no exception (if not somewhat the norm.) In one of the newest patent-related developments, Redmond has finally reached a settlement with patent troll Network-1.
The patent in question is U.S. Patent No. 6,006,227, or ‘227 Patent, titled “Document Stream Operating System,” which presumably has to do with Windows’ advance indexing function that allows for combined local and web search of documents. The settlement also covers the resulting litigations of Microsoft’s partners, among which is HP, Dell, Samsung, Best Buy, and Lenovo, and will see Microsoft paying up $4.65 million for the license, which will expire in 2016.
Interestingly, litigation regarding the same patent is being raised against Apple regarding one of its similar features on OSX, Spotlight. In fact, Apple have had a history of being trolled by Network-1 with the same patent that dates back to 2010, in which case it almost had to pay up $280.5 millions in damage. The decision was vacated and submitted for reexamination afterwards, which resulted in it being overruled. Network-1, of course, proceeded to push the same case, which is still in place. Microsoft seems to have chosen the softer option, which may be attributed to the potential negative effect the ruling might have had on its partners, which the company wants to avoid.Further reading: Apple, Cortana, Microsoft, Spotlight