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Encyclopeadia Britannica sues TomTom over patent infringement


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#1
Hans van der Maarel

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According to this article, Encyclopeadia Britannica is suing TomTom and 2 other manufacturers of car navigation products over patent infringements. It appears E.B. has a patent for the visualisation of map data of the US in a computerized environment and wants to be paid for damages...

So... how will this affect our industry? Seems to me we've all breached this particular patent...
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#2
MapMedia

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I didn't get a lot of info from the article, but I suspect the claim is about some technical aspect of the product, not the look and feel or data.
TomTom is also a big enough gorilla to go after.

Hans - what way do you think the patent has been breached?

#3
Hans van der Maarel

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I didn't get a lot of info from the article, but I suspect the claim is about some technical aspect of the product, not the look and feel or data.
TomTom is also a big enough gorilla to go after.

Hans - what way do you think the patent has been breached?


I don't know, I'm stunned by this. There hasn't been much in-depth coverage (i.e. on the technical aspects), so it's hard to tell.

One thing I can't help wondering about is why did they wait so long? TomTom and the others have been going at it for a couple of years now, with quite a bit of succes. Also, why not go after Google? After all: "visualising map data of the US in a computerized environment" = Google Earth/Maps... (probabely because Google would do "DELETE * FROM websites WHERE owner = 'Encyclopaedia Britannica';"...)
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#4
rudy

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"Infringed patents for a computerized map-viewing system" can cover a whole range of things - i.e. anything viewed on screen. It obviously must be something navigation related. I don't think EB has a leg to stand on, considering how PNDs and GPS units have evolved. Hard to tell without any of the technical details . . . .

#5
Sky Schemer

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I find it interesting that Garmin isn't on that list. Both TomTom and Magellan are European companies, which might be a factor here.

I couldn't find more information on this suit, either. The whole things sounds a lot like the SCO vs IBM lawsuit over Linux, in a very "increasingly irrelevant company turns to lawsuits in last-ditch effort to find revenue" kind of way. Fortunately, the US Supreme Court has finally started putting the smackdown on patent trolls with the recent eBay decision. There may be hope for the future yet...

#6
Hans van der Maarel

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I find it interesting that Garmin isn't on that list. Both TomTom and Magellan are European companies, which might be a factor here.


'might'? Cntrary to what its name would imply, the E.B. is a US company... Then again, so is the third company affected by this lawsuit (forgot the name, but they're from Madison, WI)
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#7
Sky Schemer

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'might'? Cntrary to what its name would imply, the E.B. is a US company... Then again, so is the third company affected by this lawsuit (forgot the name, but they're from Madison, WI)


I didn't see any references to a third company. Did I miss something? I only found three articles (though admittedly I didn't look that hard) and they only mentioned TomTom and Magellan/Thales.

#8
Hans van der Maarel

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'might'? Cntrary to what its name would imply, the E.B. is a US company... Then again, so is the third company affected by this lawsuit (forgot the name, but they're from Madison, WI)


I didn't see any references to a third company. Did I miss something? I only found three articles (though admittedly I didn't look that hard) and they only mentioned TomTom and Magellan/Thales.


There is another one. It seems most articles on this are pretty short, listing just the basic facts. Can't remember where I saw the third one referenced.
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#9
William Sharpe

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TomTom (Dutch), Magellan Navigation (Sata Clara, CA), and American TV & Appliance of Madison (Madison, WI) are the three defendants

#10
Sky Schemer

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TomTom (Dutch), Magellan Navigation (Sata Clara, CA), and American TV & Appliance of Madison (Madison, WI) are the three defendants


It all sounds so crazy it must be true.

I didn't realize Thales had recently been purchased by a Santa Clara private equity group.

#11
rudy

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Very Spatial takes a stab at which patent EB might be looking to protect. It'll be interesting to see what comes out of this.

#12
Sky Schemer

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Very Spatial takes a stab at which patent EB might be looking to protect. It'll be interesting to see what comes out of this.


Oddly enough, the patent doesn't cover navigation. They are just claiming a patent on the idea of an interactive, electronic map with points-of-interest search capability.

It's very interesting that some prominent names in this industry are not named in the lawsuit.




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