As tit-for-tat patent infringement litigation steps up a few notches in the telecoms world, people with a sense of irony will no doubt appreciate the news that Microsoft has signed up as the first member of a new organisation challenging specious software patents. The company that has threatened the likes of Salesforce and TomTom over their use of Linux (which Redmond claims infringes on Microsoft IP – an assertion that has yet to be tested in court) has signed up for Litigation Avoidance, a crowdsourcing service “designed to help companies analyse and act on patents of questionable quality.”
Samsung is seeking to block the sale of Apple’s iPhone 5 in South Korea, when it launches. The company recently lost the rights to sell its Galaxy S Tab in Germany, after Apple won an injunction to block the sale of the product, alleging that the device infringes patents held by Apple.
Nokia has announced the settlement of a long-running patent spat with Apple. Under the terms of the agreement, Apple will pay an undisclosed lump sum as well as ongoing royalty payments for its use of patents Nokia claims belong to it. Both parties have agreed to withdraw their respective complaints to the US International Trade Commission (ITC).
In what looks increasingly like a spate of tit-for-tat disputes between Western and Chinese equipment manufacturers, Chinese vendor ZTE has said that it will sue rival Ericsson for patent infringements. Last week, Ericsson announced that it had filed three lawsuits against ZTE for alleged breach of patents covering its 2-and-3G technologies.