Microsoft sued for Live Tiles

| November 1, 2012 | 22 Replies


Here’s Nilay Patel from The Verge who can explain a little bit better than most about the whole Microsoft vs Surfast thing.

If you haven’t heard, Surfcast is a company that filed patents on ’tiles’ which can variably update with information. i.e. live tiles.


These live tiles haven’t been on any Surfcast product but they have been in Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 (series) products since 2010 (was it announced a year before that?). Oddly Surfast didn’t try to defend their rights until a more perfect time to attack – when Microsoft is fully baked in the whole tile thing with Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 (and perhaps Xbox and other products to an extent). It presents a bigger pot of money to attack rather than MS’s early (and tiny) partners.

Nilay reckons MS will reach a settlement soon. They better do for Nokia’s sake. At least on the upside it is MS direct and not their partners in the firing line (like Apple vs Google via HTC/Samsung). The whole WP licensing thing aims to ‘protect’ partners though right?

Source: TheVerge

Cheers everyone for the tip!


Category: Lumia, Nokia

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  • stormtroller

    i wonder what nokia ceo will say about this

    • Rinslowe



      i also wonder what the
      htc, lg, smasung, dell, lenovo, sharp, sony, compaq, asus, hp, acer, etc
      ceo will say about this?

      • Ekeluo

        This is, so we’re not really concerned about those guys…


          so why do we see jolla, htc, samsung, related articles?

          anyways the reply was meant to show stormtroller that what the nokia ceo has to say about this matter is irrelevant because it is an industry wide issue affecting all w8 and wp8 manufacturers,
          this isn’t an issue specific solely to nokia.

  • Rinslowe

    This is what it all comes down to these days…

    “Oddly Surfast didn’t try to defend their rights until a more perfect time to attack”

    Exactly… In fact it’s not odd at all. And when the dust settles patents or no, it’s Surfast who will left with egg on their faces. Admittedly rather expensive eggs, but still, credibility lost.

    Revenue through voluntary arbitration. Those who can’t do teach, or sue…

  • American style of doing business is ugly.
    And Apple is the modern mother of this ugliness.

    • Tom

      Remember Linux violating all MS patents, and MS never openly disclosed anything Linux violates. They bullied everyone to patent deal or be sue happy. Good to see MS getting same love.

  • wp but without java emu this is a big question

  • qromodynmc

    So,What now? :/ microsoft can buy patents I guess.

  • Doug

    Why would Surfcast sue Microsoft? Tiles is a piece of crap!

    • Bassman

      But they’re not though Douggy boy, have you used them? I’ve just upgraded my PC to W8, and you know what? The tiles make sense, they really do, constantly updated info, better presented (imho) than widgets ever were. That’s my opinion, and while I don’t expect you to agree, at least give a less laconic response, which just seems to shout ‘I’m bitter about something’.

  • Microsoft would have register their live tile patent, if it is disallow, there will be no live tile interface for years.

    The patent acquired surfcast might be a shape looks like a live tile.

  • Bob

    What a load of crap.

    They have NEVER used tiles. Just spinning vague words which could mean anything.

    The whole patent system needs fixing.

    • Paul Grenfell

      Like use it or lose it?

    • incognito

      Microsoft tried (and still does) to stifle the (F)OSS community a gazillion of times by the same standards – by having a patent on something that they’ve never used and is equally vague.

      Kind of poetic justice to be stroked by the very same stone they’ve been throwing for decades.

      That is not to say that I don’t think that the whole patent system needs fixing. In fact, I’d argue that it needs to be cancelled completely. I’m against monopolies of any kind, and patent system is just that – state endorsed monopoly. That has grown to such an unimaginable level that the only solution is outright dismantling it.

      • Tom

        +1 It’s good to see MS getting some of the same shit they have been doing for decades, including funding SCO. Most of the patent trolls are directly or indirectly funded by MS, at least someone is sticking it to them.

  • shallow ocean shoal

    Sounds like a viral Surface ad

  • swain

    The patent system was created to protect intellectual properties. It should stay and protect the real IP.
    But it has already been proved to be a obstacle in the path of development. Companies are bound to think a million times before implementing something exciting due to a fear of getting sued.
    The patents should be re-examined thoroughly and only credible patents should stay alive. It makes to sense to keep those silly patents active which are too abvious in a regular process. Those patents must get abandoned/cancelled like the one related to ‘bouncing of list at end’ happened few days back.

    • swain

      a typing mistake- *obvious

  • Brian

    I went and read the Verge article and it seems to me it’s a big stretch to try and tie this patent in with live tiles.

    I did, however, buy a birthday present for my father-in-law several years ago which is a pretty good fit for a device which infringes the patent.

    Basically what it is is a modern day equivalent of a picture frame. It looks like a small tablet on a stand. To use it you first connect it to your computer with a USB cable and download a bunch of pictures. You can then control the device by buttons on the front or via a remote control.

    The options you have are –
    1) Just have it display a clock
    2) Scroll through the pictures on the device and choose one to be displayed permanently (or until you change your mind)
    3) (The infringing part) set it to automatically switch between the pictures every 30 seconds or so.

    As I said, that is pretty much a perfect description of a device which would infringe the patent. Neither WP8 nor Windows 8 fit the bill. I’d expect MS to fight it automatically and, with their billions in the bank, I don’t think Surfcast stand a choice of doing anything except make a lot of lawyers rich.

    • DesR85

      Good one. I expect that Surfcast will go for a settlement soon as the most logical choice since they have no case against Microsoft. :p