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Burst.com Sues Microsoft Over Corona

Santa Rosa, Calif.-based video delivery technology Burst.com provider Tuesday queued up as the latest technology firm to take Microsoft to court for alleged anti-competitive tactics, including the alleged use of its patented streaming technology in Microsoft's upcoming next generation Windows Media technology.

Echoing heavyweights like Netscape and Sun Microsystems , whose lawsuits helped spark the government's antitrust case against the Redmond software giant, Burst accused Microsoft of violations of the Sherman Act, as well as violations of the Patent Act, California Cartwright Act (which deals with antitrust), California Business & Professions Code Section 17200 (dealing with unfair acts or practices), and the California Trade Secrets Act. The company is also suing for breach of contract.

Burst's charges revolve around Microsoft's highly anticipated Corona technology, intended to bring the company's Windows Media technology into the next generation.

Burst claims Corona uses technologies and trade secrets misappropriated from Burst, and that Microsoft met with the company over a two-year period, during which it unsuccessfully negotiated for the rights to use Burst's technology.

Burst went on to claim that Microsoft "anticompetitively damaged Burst in violation of federal and state antitrust laws in many of the same ways that prompted the federal courts to find that it monopolized the market for Intel-compatible operating systems."

The suit alleges Microsoft used its clout in the market to prevent its customers and partners from supporting Burst's technology.

"Burstware is the '3rd generation streaming' technology that Microsoft has been bragging about as if it was their own," Burst Chairman and CEO Richard Lang said in a statement Wednesday. He added, "We spent over a decade patenting and developing burst technology in anticipation of the markets that are now emerging. Microsoft's operating system monopoly put it in the position to simply take our technology and our business opportunities. Microsoft has found that it pays to misappropriate the innovations created by others. We're asking the court to prevent that from happening here."

Microsoft could not be reached for comment.

Burst filed its suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Tuesday. It is represented by Hosie, Frost, Large & McArthur, as well as intellectual property law specialist Carr-Ferrell LLP.