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DISPUTE: Visto sues Microsoft and signs patent licensing agreement with NTP
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 15.12.05 - 17:53:08 CET under 01 - General News - Viewed 9352x
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Visto Corporation has filed a legal action against Microsoft for misappropriating Visto's intellectual property. The complaint asserts that Microsoft has infringed upon multiple patents Visto holds regarding proprietary technology that provides enterprises and consumers with mobile access to their E-Mail and other data. The company is seeking a permanent injunction that would prohibit Microsoft from misappropriating the technology that Visto and its cofounder helped develop nearly a decade ago.

Brian A. Bogosian, Vistos Chairman, CEO and President, will hold a press teleconference this afternoon at 2:00 pm Eastern Time / 11:00 am Pacific Time to discuss the lawsuit.

"Microsoft has a long and well-documented history of acquiring the technology of others, branding it as their own and entering new markets," said Mr. Bogosian. "In some cases, they buy that technology from its creator. In other cases, they wrongfully misappropriate the intellectual property that belongs to others, which has forced them to acknowledge and settle large IP cases with companies like Sun, AT&T and For their foray into mobile E-Mail and data access, Microsoft simply decided to misappropriate Visto's well known and documented patented technology."

Visto has been at the forefront of developing mobile communications solutions for nearly ten years. Company co-founder Daniel Méndez and others developed the system to allow consumers to securely receive their E-Mail and other sensitive data via mobile phones or other mobile devices while traveling. Méndez and Visto went on to patent the system that drives E-Mail from personal or business servers to mobile devices like cell phones and allows users to access sensitive data and E-Mail stored behind highly secure corporate firewalls.

"With the recent explosion in smart phone technology and demand for mobile E-Mail access, the market has caught up with Visto's original vision," said Mr. Méndez. "We worked many long nights over many years and invested heavily to develop and patent our technology at a time when many people thought we were working on future fantasies. Now, when the market potential is obvious to everyone, other companies want to misappropriate the technologies that we invented and to benefit, for free, from our hard work and innovation."

"For more than a decade, small, innovative companies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere have lived in fear of the day Microsoft decides to enter their market," Bogosian said. "They are a big, powerful, wealthy company, but they have no real growth, even in their most profitable divisions. They want to show investors that they can sustain growth in a new, developing market, like mobile access to E-Mail and data, but they cannot be permitted to do that by misappropriating another company's intellectual property."

"Innovative companies have been pummeled out of existence or into minor players after Microsoft decided to enter their markets," Bogosian added.
"Netscape and RealNetworks are among the best known examples. Courts around the world have ruled time after time against Microsoft, saying that it has acted either inappropriately or in violation of the law, especially concerning how they have treated competing companies. We will not let that happen to Visto."

Individual and business subscribers get Visto Mobile service – which is invisible to the user – through their mobile phone carrier. Visto's clients include many of the world's largest mobile phone carriers like Cingular, Sprint-Nextel, the Vodafone Group and Rogers Wireless.

Headquartered in Redwood Shores, CA, Visto has over 300 employees spread across offices in ten countries. The company holds 25 patents, including those related to mobile access E-Mail and data systems and has 57 patents pending.

Concerning the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Visto asserts that Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5.0 is a blatant infringement on Visto's patented technology. Visto's concerns about this market are heightened by Microsoft's recent decision to bundle Windows Mobile 5.0 with their already market-dominating Exchange server software. This method of bundling software has led Microsoft to be prosecuted by competition authorities in the past and in this case, potentially increases the rate and manner in which their infringement on Visto's patents occurs.

Visto's lawsuit specifically alleges that Microsoft has infringed on three patents relating to its mobile access to E-Mail and data

  • U.S. Patent No. 6,085,192 titled, "System And Method For Securely Synchronizing Multiple Copies Of A Workspace Element In A Network"
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,708,221 titled, "System And Method For Globally And Securely Accessing Unified Information In A Computer Network"
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,151,606 titled, "System And Method For Using A
    Workspace Data Manager To Access, Manipulate And Synchronize Network Data"

The complaint seeks a permanent injunction that would prohibit Microsoft from continuing to misappropriate Visto's intellectual property. The company also seeks monetary damages as compensation for Microsoft's illegal actions.

"We are confident that our country's legal system will uphold the protections provided for in the law. The law protects innovators from corporate predators – large or small –including those with well documented histories of bad corporate behavior," said Mr. Bogosian.

However, the same time Visto announced to file legal actions against Microsoft, Visto also announced a license agreement between Visto and NTP. At the moment, NTP is suing RIM for their BlackBerry technology.

So Visto today announced that it had signed a licensing agreement with NTP and that NTP had acquired an equity stake in Visto. NTP's patents, which include a broad spectrum of claims centered on the transmission of wireless data, complement Visto's own significant IP portfolio of 25 patents that relate to mobile access to E-Mail and data. The agreement gives Visto access to NTP's patents for the life of those patents, providing Visto's customers and partners with access to Visto's industry's leading technology in the mobile E-Mail market and stability in these turbulent times.

"This license agreement further reinforces the strength and validity of NTP founder Thomas Campana's life-long work in the mobile communications industry as an inventor and a visionary," said Donald E. Stout, co-founder of NTP, Inc. "Additionally, this is a clear win for mobile E-Mail users everywhere as it provides them with a viable alternative to RIM that protects them from any NTP litigation risk. Users of Visto Mobile can be assured of access to mobile E-Mail and data as they are licensed to use NTP's intellectual property. We are excited about our ownership stake in Visto's future."

"As an inventor committed to protecting and fostering innovation, I respect the right to protect and defend intellectual property," said Daniel Mendez, co-founder and senior vice president for Visto. "By protecting invention, we actually provide forward-looking thinkers with a safe environment for creating new ideas and products. It is the spirit of innovation that is the heart of every company and the foundation for any successful business."

The Visto platform enables the instantaneous and secure two-way delivery of E-Mail, contacts and calendar updates to the broadest set of mobile phones across all operating systems. Visto's open solution enables e-mail for the mass market, targeting large enterprises, small businesses and mobile professionals.

"Mobile users now know that Visto provides a safe and secure harbor that today Blackberry cannot offer its own customers," said Brian Bogosian, president, chairman and CEO of Visto. "Visto's open solution gives users the freedom of choice to access personal or corporate mobile E-Mail from nearly any mobile phone. With 25 patents in this market bolstered with the protection of the NTP license, it is clear that Visto is a technology leader in providing push E-Mail and will be a viable alternative long after other players have seen their solutions silenced."

Visto - fast becoming the leading provider of secure push-based mobile e-mail - already provides business-focused mobile mail services across Europe, USA and Asia through major agreements with the Vodafone Group, Sprint-Nextel, and Rogers Wireless among others. During the past year, Visto has gained rapid momentum, with Visto Mobile currently available from more than 20 of the leading wireless operators around the world on more than 60 mobile phones from the industry's top manufacturers.

Right now I'm not sure what it means for Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5.0/Exchange 2003 push E-Mail strategy but in worst case it means that such a product roll-out could get on hold.

Cheers ~ Arne


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