Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS has only been available for 6 days and a lawsuit has already been filed. SurfCast, a software and OS design company based out of Portland, Maine, has filed suit against the Redmond Giant, claiming they have violated one of their four patents, one specifically pertaining to “Tiles.” While most suits tend to be frivolous, SurfCast has a pretty decent shot at a case against Microsoft, as seen in the image below, which shows off their patent.
SurfCast says they thought of the idea first and filed for a patent—which was granted in 2004—they go on to say that their idea is different than just static icons, because these “tiles” were live and could be updated to provide information. SurfCast’s website describes their patent on Tiles as follows:
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.
SurfCast also claims that Microsoft knew of their patent as far back as 2009. It’s pretty sketchy on Microsoft’s part that this patent and idea were filed for back in 2004, no? In any event, SurfCast is looking for Microsoft to pay for all damages caused to them by their blatant infringement, which could be huge, considering that Microsoft is now using Tiles on Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone 7.5, 7.8 and Windows Phone 8, essentially, everything they company is selling.
One has to ask, how does this affect consumers opinion of Microsoft? Many fans and critics lauded Microsoft for thinking outside the box and coming up with a creative new OS and interface, but in the end, they may have just ripped off another company’s idea, without paying for it.