December 18, 2017
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A business located in a Portland condo sued Microsoft. It lost.

By Darren Fishell, BDN Staff
Mike Blake | REUTERS | BDN
Mike Blake | REUTERS | BDN
The Microsoft logo is shown on the Microsoft Theatre at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 13, 2017.

A federal judge has tossed out a Portland company’s patent lawsuit against Microsoft about three years after federal reviewers declared the patent invalid.

SurfCast Inc. in 2012 claimed Microsoft violated its patent for a “system and method for simultaneous display of multiple information sources” with the release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system and other devices.

Those systems used “tiles” to organize its display, which SurfCast said infringed on its invention. Microsoft filed counterclaims, seeking a court ruling to invalidate SurfCast’s patent.

U.S. District Court Judge Jon D. Levy on Monday ruled to dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning the ruling prevents both sides from refiling their claims.

SurfCast argued that the court should leave open the possibility that it could sue Microsoft again, based on a case the U.S. Supreme Court accepted in June. That case challenges the process the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office used to invalidate SurfCast’s patent.

If successful, SurfCast argued that appeal would apply to its patent, again making it valid and restoring its standing to sue Microsoft.

According to SurfCast’s website, the company says it has four patents and claims design of its “Tiles” system, which it says “can be thought of as dynamically updating icons.” The website’s news section lists only a post about the lawsuit against Microsoft.

The company has since 2004 filed six extensions of the original patent invalidated by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2014. It filed the most recent in July 2016, according to patent records.

Between the first patent and the most recent update, SurfCast Inc. changed its location from Palo Alto, California, to Portland, Maine. And in that time, inventor and SurfCast CEO Ovid Santoro changed his residence to Lincolnville, Maine, from London.

The company’s current office, in a condo unit on Portland’s West End, is owned by a company Brick Schoolhouse LLC, which has a post office box in Lincolnville, according to Portland property records.

A call to the number listed at SurfCast’s website eventually returned a busy signal.

 


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