InterTrust broadens MS suit to include new charges

InterTrust Technologies Corp., a digital rights management software company, announced Wednesday that it is broadening the scope of its ongoing patent infringement lawsuit against Microsoft Corp. to include the File Protection components of Windows XP, which InterTrust claims violate a patent it holds on secure transactions and digital rights management.

InterTrust began its suit against Microsoft in April 2001, charging that the Redmond, Washington-based software company was infringing on InterTrust patents in the digital rights management schemes used in Windows Media Player and Microsoft's electronic-book reader application. The suit was later expanded to cover components of Windows XP, Office XP and .Net. Mostly recently, the Santa Clara, California-based InterTrust filed claims in early February saying that Microsoft's Plug and Play technology violates 5-year-old InterTrust patents.

In Wednesday's announcement, InterTrust said that Microsoft's Windows File Protection technology infringes on U.S. patent number 5,892,900, which it applied for in 1996 and was granted in 1999. The patent, according to InterTrust's statement, covers methods for protecting files and software components as they are read into memory and executed. The company said it has already asserted that Microsoft is violating this patent, but that the previous assertion was in regard to different activities by Microsoft.

Windows File Protection, according to information on Microsoft's Web site, prevents certain system files from being overwritten or corrupted to avoid instability or poor performance.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and is currently in the discovery phase.

Microsoft was not immediately available for comment.

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