Microsoft, Yahoo, others sued by Softvault over DRM
15 January 2006
"SEPARATE CASES were filed against Microsoft, Yahoo and a spate of other tech firms in the US last week, alleging patents covering digital rights management (DRM) were breached by the firms. The main action is against Microsoft, filed in the Eastern District Court of Texas, and relates to US patent 6,249,868, a method and system for embedded, automated, component level control of computer systems and other complex systems.
The patent covers security components for a PC which can enable or disable systems using a remote server. Softvault alleges that products with the feature include Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, Microsoft Office XP, Access 2002, Excel 2002, Vision 2002, Visual Studio Net, Office 2000 SR-1, Project 2000 SR-1, Powerpoint, and many other products including Word. Softvault also claims Microsoft infringes patent 6,594,765, with a long list of Volish software alleged to breach that patent. Softvault wants damages, injunctions, fees, costs, and the like. The other case against Yahoo, Microsoft, Napster, Creative Labs, Dell, Gateway, Iriver, Samsung, Toshiba, Digital Networks, Palm, Audiovox, Sandisk and Thomson also relates to the 868 patent and the 765 patent... Softvault alleges that Microsoft supplies Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM) which breaches its patent, and Yahoo's Music Unlimited to Go uses this DRM and so infringes its patents. The other firms named in the suit also infringe Softvault's patents by using Microsoft DRM, it's alleged. Softvault wants the defendants to pay up after a jury trial. Softvault, according to its web page, here*, is a Washington based IP firm which explains that by using its tech a device breaching digital rights can be turned into a brick. And, as we all know, bricks make houses. And gold bricks make gold houses."