Salesforce.com hits Microsoft with patent infringement action

Salesforce.com has sued Microsoft for patent infringement, making a move in response to an intellectual property suit Redmond filed against the on-demand CRM (customer relationship management) vendor last month.

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Salesforce.com has sued Microsoft for patent infringement, making a move in response to an intellectual property suit Redmond filed against the on-demand CRM (customer relationship management) vendor last month.

A number of Microsoft products, including its .NET platform and SharePoint collaboration software, are in violation of Salesforce.com patents, according to the complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

Microsoft has wilfully infringed on Salesforce.com's intellectual property, the complaint adds.

Salesforce.com's legal team on the case includes David Boies, known for his role prosecuting the U.S. government's antitrust case against Microsoft. Boies is also representing Oracle in its ongoing intellectual-property suit against SAP.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's earlier complaint against Salesforce.com alleges that the company's products infringe on nine of its patents.

Salesforce.com's brash CEO, Marc Benioff, savaged Microsoft's action during a recent earnings call, labelling the company an "alley thug" and "patent troll."

But Benioff also said the dispute is "resolvable," and "basically a no-impact situation," remarks that Salesforce.com's counter-complaint seems to place in a new light.

Microsoft is reviewing Salesforce.com's filing and plans to continue moving forward with its own complaint, said Horacio Gutierrez, vice president and deputy general counsel, intellectual property and licensing, in a prepared statement.

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