Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Microsoft's "Atomic Bomb" Licensing Campaign for U2 Technology -- It's the ITC for Belkin
Microsoft, having successfully avoided an injunction in the first post-eBay decision (from the Eastern District of Texas, no less!), has discovered the rich man’s loophole – the ITC. Microsoft has engaged in what appears to be a pretty heavy-handed licensing campaign for its “U2” technology, which enables a computer to immediately recognize a peripheral device. This week, it filed a patent case in the ITC against mouse manufacturer Belkin who allegedly uses U2 technology. This action, designed to keep Belkin from importing mice manufactured overseas into the US, gives Microsoft the ability to accomplish through the ITC what it probably could not accomplish in the courts – a permanent injunction.
Incidentally, this case was filed the same week as Microsoft outlined its strategy for its "iPod killer" product -- Zune. Is it a coincidence that Belkin is one of the largest manufacturers of iPod accessories?
Microsoft has obviously learned that moxie, muscle and the financial ability to force a domestic opponent into the meat grinder that is the ITC is a great incentive for the next guy to give a loooong look when the Microsoft license salesman comes calling.