Microsoft and Google have found a common cause. The two companies just joined forces to sue a tiny geo-location patent jihadist.
The giants have taken GeoTag to court, claiming that the company sued more than 300 outfits that use Bing Maps and Google Maps.
The pair want a US court to rule that the Bing and Google Maps customers did not infringe on a geo-location patent owned by GeoTag and that GeoTag must not launch additional suits. They are also seeking recovery of costs and fees.
GeoTag, according to Microsoft and Google, is accusing Bing and Google Maps customers of infringing on US patent 5,930,474 patent, which involves using mapping services to create store locators and similar locator services on websites.
The patent is called Internet Organizer for Accessing Geographically and Topically Based Information, and it's featured prominently on GeoTeg's home page here (warning: PDF).
Last year, GeoTag applied to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to be listed as a public company. GeoTag's website isn't exactly clear what the company does, but according to the Microsoft and Google legal filing, here, the company describes itself as:
Focused on licensing opportunities with companies whose web sites contain a geography-specific locator function (also known as a product locator, dealer locator or store locator). The companies whose websites utilize this function span a variety of industrial sectors.
Microsoft and Google launched their suit in US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division. The US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas is traditionally friendly towards patent holders. In the Tyler Division, Redmond a lost patent infringement case brought against Microsoft Word brought by i4i. That case is now going to the US Supreme Court. ®