Microsoft and Google jointly filled a complaint against Texas company GeoTag Inc earlier this week, in an effort to have
have a patent invalidated.
was filled in March 1, 2011 with Delaware District Court.
Although Microsoft and Google are normally seen as rivals, this time they are arguing together that GeoTag's U.S. Patent 5,930,474 should not have been granted, due to the existence of prior art.
The specific patent describes a software that organizes information predicated upon the geographical area of the resources about which the information is desired. A user is presented with a "viewpoint" map. A geography database, a local content database and a yellow pages database are provided to allow the user to obtain information at different levels. The geography database allows the user to browse through different geographic areas of which are ordered hierarchically, while the local content database includes information about general goods and services available within a given geographic location and the yellow pages database includes information about specific goods and services in the geographic location. Thus, the user is provided with a means whereby information which is associated with particular geographic locations can be readily accessed.
GeoTag Inc. has sued many companies that have websites with store locator features and use Google Maps or Bing Maps.
Microsoft and Google are asserting that their products and their customers' use of those products do not infringe on any of the patent's valid claims.