Google and Microsoft join forces for joint lawsuit

It is nice when old adversaries patch things up and join forces, even if it is in honour of crushing a smaller competitor that has dared to challenge their combined might.

That is what appears to be happening with Google and Microsoft, who were only recently at each other’s throats over the suspected pilfering of web results to be used on Microsoft’s search engine Bing.

However the two firms now appear to be teaming up to swat away a small firm named GeoTag that has been pestering their customers with lawsuits over a geotagging patent.

The patent, called “Internet organizer for accessing geographically and topically based information”, was applied for back in 1996 and describes the following:

“A software interface organizes information predicated upon the geographical area of the resources about which the information is desired.”

“A user is presented with a “viewpoint” map which may comprise, for example, an actual visually displayed map of a selected geographical area, or text information which pertains to the resources associated with the selected geographical area.”

All of which sounds rather like certain applications that Microsoft and Google have themselves, so it is no surprise that they are both seeking to get a declaration of invalidity on the grounds of the patent not taking into account other information at the time it was applied for.

The patent, proudly displayed with a rosette on GeoTag’s website, has been used against more than 300 entities, which can be viewed on the FOSS Patent blog, and is source of the joint lawsuit between the two firms.