Microsoft and Google team up to invalidate GeoTag patent
Billy-Goats Gruff Microsoft and Google have joined forces to defeat so-called patent troll GeoTag, which has sued hundreds of companies for allegedly infringing its patent.
GeoTag has claimed that nearly 400 companies are using Bing maps and Google Maps - which are based on its own patented technology, it says.
The patent covers using mapping services to create store locators on websites.
"Our patented GeoTag geo-location technology is a spatial information management technology that makes possible a range of location-enabled online applications," the company says on its website.
"These online applications can use GeoTag technology to interactively and dynamically retrieve data from a database and associate retrieved data with a location."
Over the last year and a half - and particularly in the last few months - it's sued customers of Microsoft and Google including Boeing and Pizza Hut.
But Microsoft and Google have now gone on the offensive, asking a Texas court to rule that they have not infringed GeoTag's patent, and ordering the company to stop throwing out lawsuits like confetti. They are also asking for their costs to be paid.
The two companies say in the suit that the patent concerned is invalid for a number of reasons, including prior art.
GeoTag's only held the patent for two years, although it was originally applied for in 1996 and was granted in 1999. It's been passed around various companies in the meantime. GeoTag says it makes its living licensing patents - but this appears to be the only one it holds.