SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Microsoft is facing a lawsuit alleging it infringes patents concerning the placement of advertisements in Bing.
IP Engine claims Microsoft uses its technology to generate advertisements and links in its internet search engine Bing. The firm claims that Microsoft uses technology that was developed by two employees from its parent firm Vringo and presented in two patents.
IP Engine already scored victories against AOL and Google in November 2012 after a Virginia jury found that the two firms had infringed the same two patents that it is now alleging Microsoft's Bing is infringing. However IP Engine, despite the verdict, was able to win only $30m in damages from the two firms, significantly lower than the $696m it had been seeking.
According to IP Engine, Microsoft willfully infringed its patents, a statement that is used to try to increase any damages that might be awarded. Interestingly, one of IP Engine's patents is similar to a patent application filed by Microsoft in 2003 with the US Patent and Trademark Office but was rejected.
Even though IP Engine managed to score victories against AOL and Google, given the relatively small amount of cash that it was awarded it's unlikely that any loss will make a dent in Microsoft, a firm that is spending tens of millions to try to flog an unpopular desktop and mobile operating system. µ