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Microsoft Sues Salesforce.com for Patent Infringement

CNET

Microsoft on Tuesday fired a major shot across the bow at Salesforce.com, filing a federal lawsuit against the online software company claiming it infringes on nine patents.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Seattle, seeks both monetary damages as well as temporary and permanent injunctions. Specifically, the company seeks a jury trial and also asks that the damages be tripled and that Salesforce be ordered to pay legal fees and other costs, arguing that the company's patent infringement is willful.

"Microsoft has been a leader and innovator in the software industry for decades and continues to invest billions of dollars each year in bringing great software products and services to market," deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez said in a statement. "We have a responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to safeguard that investment, and therefore cannot stand idly by when others infringe our IP rights."

The patents cover a variety of back-end and user interface features, ranging from one covering a "system and method for providing and displaying a Web page having an embedded menu" to another that covers a "method and system for stacking toolbars in a computer display."

Microsoft sells its own online CRM software, though none of the patents it is suing over are specifically related to that product.

A Salesforce.com representative was not immediately able to comment.

The software maker first notified Salesforce more than a year ago related to the alleged infringement, according to Microsoft. A Microsoft representative declined to comment on whether Microsoft has notified any other online software makers that it believes infringe on its patents.

In a January filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Salesforce said, without naming Microsoft, that a large tech company had said that it was infringing on their patents as part of a list of risk factors that could affect the company.

Read the rest of this article at CNET News.com.

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