Microsoft, Apple Face Patent Lawsuit

It's not Acacia this time, but a UK company known as BTG, who's throwing the legal punches in a battle over the use of automatic web update services. And unlike Acacia, BTG is not bullying up on smaller companies in hopes of building a war chest for future litigation, but going straight after the heavy-hitters of the personal computer world: Microsoft and Apple.

BTG is the exclusive worldwide licensee for patent number 6,557,054, which is owned by Teleshuttle Technologies, whose president and founder, Richard Reisman invented the process leading to the patent.

BTG claims that the patent (which was granted on April 29th, 2003 after a review of the claim originally filed early in the 1990's), is being unfairly infringed on by Microsoft, through its operating systems, and through the Microsoft Office software.

Unable to reach a commercial licensing agreement with the software giants for their use of the technology, BTG has filed suit in a Northern District of California Federal Court, seeking unspecified damages and an injunction which would bar future use.

Neither Apple or Microsoft have commented on the patent which covers a "Method and system for distributing updates by presenting directory of software available for user installation that is not already installed on user station."

It's not just Microsoft and Apple who have to watch out for BTG, as this patent could apply to many products and services like anti-virus systems that update their software via the Internet.

And there are other patent infringement claims from BTG, who is also seeking unspecified damages and an injunction against further use against Microsoft over claims resulting from Microsoft's active desktop and offline browsing systems, which apparently infringe due to their use of cookies, pre-fetching content for a seemingly faster browsing experience, and other claimed infractions.