Microsoft won't have to pay to use Live Tiles after patent suit dismissed

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board this week has ruled in favor of Microsoft in a patent lawsuit that was filed against it in 2012 by SurfCast. The board has thrown out all SurfCast's 52 claims of infringement that it said Microsoft had made when it released its Live Tiles feature in the Modern user interface, which debuted in Windows Phone 7 and is currently used with Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8.1 and the upcoming Windows 10.

Two years ago, SurfCast claimed that Microsoft's use of Live Tiles infringed on a UI patent they said they had created. The interface showed content on a computer screen via a grid of tiles which can be updated with new info. However, this week's decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board said that SurfCast's patents in this case were invalid, due to the fact that their idea was "obvious or anticipated in view of a host of references."

While we didn't expect Microsoft to lose this case, this victory has to be a bit of a relief as they continue to refine their Live Tiles UI with Windows 10.

Source: Law360 (free registration required)

John Callaham