Microsoft Takes Plug-and-Play to ITC

Microsoft filed a patent-infringement claim with the International Trade
Commission (ITC) today against wireless electronics accessory maker Belkin.

According to Microsoft, Belkin has refused to engage
in significant licensing talks for the use of Microsoft’s U2 technology.

The technology, according to Microsoft, enables a computer peripheral device to
auto-sense whether it is plugging into a PS2 or USB port and to
connect to it.

The plug-and-play U2 technology allows users to attach devices to computers
without having to deal with connection settings.

“Unfortunately, Belkin has refused two years of repeated attempts to
initiate meaningful licensing discussions,” Tom Burke, corporate vice
president and assistant general counsel for Microsoft, said in a statement.

Microsoft is not seeking monetary damages from Belkin, but rather asking the
ITC to force the company to stop importing unlicensed U2 products into the
United States until it licenses the technology from Microsoft.

Burke noted Targus, KYE Systems, Monterey International, Behavior Tech
Computer and Fellowes, among others, have licensing agreements with
Microsoft to use the U2 technology.

“Belkin’s use of this technology without paying for it is unfair to
companies who invent, respect and pay for this property,” he said.

Belkin declined to comment on the complaint, stating in an e-mail to it had not been served with the complaint.

The ITC usually decides disputes within 12 to 18 months.

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