Visto sues Microsoft over wireless email patents

Visto accuses Microsoft of routinely stealing technologies from smaller companies

Visto has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, accusing it of improper use of patented Visto technologies in Microsoft's software for accessing email from phones and other wireless devices.

The action kicks off another legal battle in the wireless email market. Research in Motion (RIM) is currently defending a suit brought by NTP, which says RIM used NTP technology patents illegally in RIM's BlackBerry email devices. Just yesterday, Visto said it had licensed those patents from NTP.

Visto's suit, filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, seeks unspecified monetary damages and a permanent injunction preventing Microsoft from shipping the software in question, Windows Mobile 5.0. Visto called the product "a blatant infringement on Visto's patented technology".

It also accused the software maker of routinely stealing technologies from smaller companies and settling subsequent court cases with hefty payments.

A spokeswoman for Microsoft in the UK was not immediately able to comment on the suit.

Visto's software is used by carriers including Cingular Wireless, Sprint Nextel and Vodafone. Its lawsuit accuses Microsoft of infringing on three US patents in particular. They are patent number 6,085,192, titled "System And Method For Securely Synchronising Multiple Copies Of A Workspace Element In A Network"; number 6,708,221, "System And Method For Globally And Securely Accessing Unified Information In A Computer Network", and number 6,151,606, "System And Method For Using A Workspace Data Manager To Access, Manipulate And Synchronise Network Data."

Patents can be viewed at the US Patent and Trademark Office website.

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