CNet is reporting that Microsoft has filed a federal lawsuit against Salesforce.com, accusing the software provider of nine separate patent violations. According to SEC filings, this is the apparent end of long, apparently bitter negotiations.
Back in January, Salesforce.com, which distributes several types of subscription business software, included in their SEC filing that they were “in discussions” with “a large technology company,” evidently Microsoft.
“During fiscal 2009, we received a communication from a large technology company alleging that we were infringing upon some of their patents,” Salesforce said in the regulatory filing, known as an 8-K. “We continue to analyze the potential merits of their claims, the potential defenses to such claims and potential counter claims, and the possibility of a license agreement as an alternative to litigation. We are currently in discussions with this company and no litigation has been filed to date.”
The exact alleged violations are for a variety of back-end items like embedded menus in a Web site, remote identification of software, and “mapping between logical data and physical data.” Salesforce’s SEC filing also stated that regardless of merit, a suit from that large technology company could seriously hinder their earnings and ability to do business.
Salesforce has yet to respond to the allegations or requests for comment, which of course doesn’t mean anything in particular. But as CNet notes, Microsoft usually prefers to settle rather than take intellectual property disputes to court, so evidently something broke down in their negotiations with Salesforce.