Microsoft files patent complaint against Belkin

Microsoft has filed a patent-infringement complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) against Belkin for importing products the software company claims infringes on a patent it holds for peripheral device technology.

According to Microsoft, Belkin uses a technology called U2 in several of its mouse products. U2, for which Microsoft holds a patent, enables a computer peripheral device to auto-sense whether the device is plugging into a PS2 or USB port on a computer and to connect to it.

Microsoft had been in licensing discussions with Belkin about U2 for more than two years but had reached no agreement. This was why the software company was filing the complaint, corporate vice-president and deputy general counsel for Microsoft, Tom Burt, said in a statement.

"Several companies ... license U2 technology from Microsoft, and Belkin's use of this technology without paying for it is unfair to companies who invent, respect and pay for this property," he wrote.

Microsoft said it filed the complaint with the ITC rather than filing it in a US court because it wanted to prevent Belkin from bringing products that infringe on its patent into the US in the first place. Though Belkin is a US company, the products in question were manufactured outside of the country, Microsoft said.

Belkin did not respond to requests for comment.

Microsoft said it was not seeking monetary damages from Belkin, but just wanted the company to stop importing products that infringe on its U2 patent into the US unless it began licensing the technology from Microsoft.

Microsoft said it expected the ITC to decide on its complaint within 12-18 months.

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Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service

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