REDMOND, Wash.--Although Microsoft is not highlighting the issue, the patent infringement lawsuits it filed on Wednesday against TomTom include claims related to that company's use of the Linux kernel.
While the software maker has asserted for years that Linux infringes on its patents, this appears to be the first time Microsoft has made the claim in court.
In an interview with CNET News earlier on Wednesday, Microsoft deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez noted that five of the claims related to car navigation technologies while three were related to file management technologies. However, neither in its federal court filing nor in the interview did Gutierrez mention that the suit involved Linux, although Gutierrez did confirm that fact to Seattle-area technology site TechFlash.
Back in 2007, Microsoft made public its claim that Linux violates 235 of Microsoft's patents.
Since then, Microsoft has struck a number of patent licensing deals, most notably with Novell, that provide signing companies with patent protection against Linux claims. Microsoft also announced a year ago that it would not sue individual open source developers, though it said it retained the right to sue companies over their use of Linux.
I've asked Microsoft for further details and expect to update this post later this evening.
Update 9:15 p.m. PT: Gutierrez had a fair amount to say on the topic, so I have posted an additional story here.