Microsoft, Apple Sued Over Online Updates

BTG filed suit in the U.S. Federal Court in the Northern District of California along with Teleshuttle Corporation and Teleshuttle Technologies LLC, the patent's holders. BTG owns the world-wide licensing rights to the patent.

The lawsuit charges Microsoft and Apple with infringement of U.S. patent number 6,557,054, and alleges that both Microsoft Windows and Apple's Mac OS X operating systems, as well as Microsoft Office, use the patented technologies for updating software.

Microsoft and Apple use Web-based services to provide users with security patches and program updates to their users. Windows Update, Microsoft's Web update site and service, is a crucial component of the Redmond, Wash.-based developer's overall strategy to reduce security risks in its flagship operating system, and will rev to a new edition in August when Windows XP Service Pack 2 releases.

BTG is asking for unspecified damages for past infringement, and an injunction against any future use of the technology. The move to court, said BTG in a statement, was due to "Microsoft's and Apple's delay in entering into licensing agreements with on commercially reasonable terms."

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According to BTG, the patent was granted April 29, 2003, to inventor Richard Reisman, the president and founder of Teleshuttle, and is the result of work he did in the early 1990s, long before the Internet went mainstream. Reisman joined forces with BTG in 1998 to protect his patent, said BTG.

Microsoft and Apple were not available for comment.