OS Designer Sues Microsoft Over Use Of Live Tiles

Just days after Microsoft launched its Windows 8 operating system the Redmond company is facing trouble, the kind which has become common these days with tech companies. A little known company called SurfCast has sued Microsoft for infringing on one of its four patents relating to ‘Tiles.’ The company has now filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Maine and wants Microsoft to compensate it suitably for all the damage caused so far.

SurfCast’s homepage mentions ‘Tiles’ as its own idea and describes it as below:

“Tiles 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.

Tiles can provide dynamic bookmarking — an at-a-glance view of the current status of the program, file, or content associated with it.

Tiles enable people to have all their content, applications, and resources, regardless of whether on their mobile device, tablet, computer, or in their Cloud — visualized persistently — dynamically updating.”

Live Tiles, an alternate to regular icons is an integral part of Microsoft’s new OS, which includes Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and the earlier Windows Phone 7. Live Tiles can do a lot more than just launch an application and can display real time information, whether it is an email or a social network update. SurfCast claims that it developed the concept of ‘Tiles’ way back in 2000 and was granted the patent in 2004. SurfCast says that Microsoft was aware of its patent in 2009 itself, when the Redmond company filed its own patent application.

While SurfCast’s claim seems legit, it certainly has raised the issue at a time when Microsoft is in a point of no return and if it wins SurfCast stands to gain the most now, than if it had brought up the issue, say when Live Tiles first made its appearance with Windows Phone 7.