Salesforce.Com Sues Microsoft for Patent Infringement

Salesforce.com has sued Microsoft for patent infringement, making a move in response to an intellectual property suit Redmond filed against the on-demand CRM (customer relationship management) vendor last month.

By Chris Kanaracus
Fri, June 25, 2010

IDG News Service — Salesforce.com has sued Microsoft (MSFT) for patent infringement, making a move in response to an intellectual property suit Redmond filed against the on-demand CRM (customer relationship management) vendor last month.

A number of Microsoft products, including its .NET platform and SharePoint collaboration software, are in violation of Salesforce.com patents, according to the complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

Microsoft has willfully infringed on Salesforce.com's intellectual property, the complaint adds.

Salesforce.com's legal team on the case includes David Boies, known for his role prosecuting the U.S. government's antitrust case against Microsoft. Boies is also representing Oracle (ORCL) in its ongoing intellectual-property suit against SAP.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's earlier complaint against Salesforce.com alleges that the company's products infringe on nine of its patents.

Salesforce.com's brash CEO, Marc Benioff, savaged Microsoft's action during a recent earnings call, labeling the company an "alley thug" and "patent troll."

But Benioff also said the dispute is "resolvable," and "basically a no-impact situation," remarks that Salesforce.com's counter-complaint seem to place in a new light.

Microsoft is reviewing Salesforce.com's filing and plans to continue moving forward with its own complaint, said Horacio Gutierrez, vice president and deputy general counsel, intellectual property and licensing, in a prepared statement.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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