Microsoft Sued Over Live Tiles Mechanism In Windows 8 And Windows Phone

A Portland-based OS development company called Surfcast has filed a patent infringement case against Microsoft. Surfcast sued Microsoft for allegedly infringing on its patents with the use of Live Tiles in its desktop, tablet and mobile software.

Patent 6,724,403 (’403): “System and method for simultaneous display of multiple information sources.”

The above patent involves the method of “presenting information from variety of sources on a display device.”, ”organizes content from a variety of information sources into grid of tiles each of which can refresh its content independently of the others.”, according to TNW. Basically, they claim Microsoft’s Live Tiles concept was invented by them.

Surfcast even has a website in which it describes the Tiles concept,

SurfCast designed a new concept referred to as ‘Tiles’.

Tiles can be thought of as dynamically updating icons. A Tile is different from an icon because it can be both selectable and live — containing refreshed content that provides a real-time or near-real-time view of the underlying information.

Tiles can provide dynamic bookmarking — an at-a-glance view of the current status of the program, file, or content associated with it.

Tiles enable people to have all their content, applications, and resources, regardless of whether on their mobile device, tablet, computer, or in their Cloud — visualized persistently — dynamically updating.

Microsoft also has few patents on Live Tiles and Surfcast claims that even Microsoft explicitly references their above patents in Microsoft’s own patents as prior art.

via: TNW


  • the person

    If Microsoft referenced them but didn’t license them I’m sure they had a good reason to. Just let it all play out in court.

  • Vtlakemonster

    Hmmm, multi billion dollar company versus some piss ant company trying to get in on the action. Wonder where this will lead (i.e. NOWHERE)

    • Mr.InTernaTionaL

      Microsoft is going to let it play out in court for I don’t know how long until the other company runs out of money and then buy them out. That’s what I would do..

      • James Watson

        And then fire everyone? Mwahahaha

  • CSharpenter

    Funny though why they waited so much for the law suite. Shouldn’t they have filed it long ago during windows phone 7?

    • A man

      That’s indeed very funny. I think it’s just a well thought out marketing move. WinPhone 7 wasn’t much of a hit, but Windows 8 and WP8 have already proven to be very popular, so Surfcast decided to sue to get some attention from the media. Horrible opportunistic behavior, imho.

    • Smity Smiter

      The more profit MS makes, the more “damage” can be claimed 😉

  • Croc Ography

    I worked on the Guardian UK site redesign over a decade ago and we used a very tile based approach, in fact you could confuse it for the MS tiles now-a-days. We also flashed pics on one side and then info on the other. I am not suing.

  • Eric Hon

    surfcast has a really popping website…this lawsuit isn’t going anywhere.

  • jate113

    The tile style looks more like the new BlackBerry UI.

    • McCheeseFist

      don’t tell them! they will sue poor old Rim…

  • just

    Talk about crappy website, SurfCast hit the target. I guess the company is looking for extra cash to upgrade it.

  • Smity Smiter

    “SurfCast designs Operating System technology and has four issued patents with
    additional applications pending.”


    Anyway, they do have a pretty clear description of Tiles, maybe they should be paid.

  • Il Baffo

    How could Ms didn’t know this before?

  • Mr.InTernaTionaL

    How about Microsoft just buy the hell out of them and shut them the hell up… Plus I have seen their site and it looked like it was done in a week with all the information explaining Tiles sounding l ike the same thing Microsoft has been saying for I don’t know how long..
    Microosft just buy them for the $2,000,000.00 their worth and don’t even deal with this headache..

    • McCheeseFist

      you have to excercise lawyers or their legs get weak. Let them get out and run free.

  • William C Bonner

    20 years ago, when MS was still developing OS/2, icons could display live information. My entire program output was scaled to display in it’s tile while minimized.

    Of course the original windows was TILED and not overlapped.

    • Karibbean

      All versions of Windows have live tiles going back to Ver 3.1.

  • L2p0


  • Bryon Borth

    According to public record, all of Surfcast Inc’s trademarks are abandoned and dead.
    Sounds like a 5th quarter hail mary pass, to me. 😛

  • macher

    wat the heck do the numbers on the picture mean… 10, 20… absolut bull!

  • Anon

    Yeah, a website with a picture of a lady fishing…

  • John


  • Trent

    One of many reasons why this wont stick:
    It says “simultaneous”. Windows shows the data one at a time not all at once.
    It says “sources”. Windows shows the actual feed/data itself and not the source.

  • Myclevername

    Google must be thrilled. I bet they buy them or maybe they have already. The patent looks pretty extensive and sure does seem to describe what Live Tiles is all about.

  • grs_dev

    This is a classic, let’s settle as quickly as possible tort case.
    This company has nothing and they know it. They are trying to get Microsoft to spend a couple of million bucks on them instead of spending that money on lawyers.

    I can already foresee the news article on this. Microsoft and Surfcast agree to a join venture…

    Of course Microsoft would reference Surfcast in their patent disclosures as prior art! That’s how the process works!


  • Gavin Tom

    lol, another company looking for a quick buck. Microsoft has a huge legal team and the money to support any litigation against it. I really doubt they would just rip off a company without researching the patents and copyrights involved. Patents were approved and apparently the process didn’t think it was similar enough to prior art and approved the patents. haha laughable.

  • Jhay Yap

    Surfcast has dead tiles MS has live tiles :)