UPDATE 4-TomTom sues Microsoft on patent infringement

Fri Mar 20, 2009 12:15pm EDT

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NEW YORK, March 20 (Reuters) - Dutch navigation device maker TomTom (TOM2.AS) filed a countersuit against Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), accusing the U.S. company of violating three of its patents.

The suit, filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the eastern district of Virginia, comes a few weeks after Microsoft filed a complaint against TomTom for violating its patents related to car navigational technology and other computing functionality. [ID:nLQ408726]

The two companies had failed to reach a patent-licensing agreement after more than a year of talks. Analysts have said the dispute could hang over TomTom for some time, although some also expect the two companies to eventually settle.

Microsoft said in a statement on Friday that it was reviewing TomTom's complaint.

"We remain committed to a licensing solution, although we will continue to press ahead with the complaints we initiated in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and the International Trade Commission," Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's deputy general counsel of intellectual property and licensing, said in the statement.

TomTom's suit says Microsoft's Streets and Trips product violates three patents, namely "Generating a Maneuver at the Intersection Through A Turn Lane," "Route Generation in a Vehicle Navigation System" and "Quick Selection of Destinations in an Automobile Navigation System."

"Although it looks as though the legal battle is heating up, it is likely that the end result will have no or little impact on the business of TomTom," SNS analyst Martijn den Drijver said in a research note.

"It is our opinion that the most likely outcome is that both companies, in the end, will agree to use each other's patents in exchange for the lawsuits to be dropped."

TomTom shares were flat at 3.43 euros. Microsoft shares rose 1.8 percent to $17.44.

"I can confirm that we are suing," a spokesman for the Amsterdam-based company said, but declined to give more details. (Reporting by Tiffany Wu in New York and Julien Ponthus in Amsterdam; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Derek Caney)

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