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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) vs. Vringo Inc. (VRNG): Patents

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is apparently the latest target among large tech companies in a patent-infringement dispute with Vringo Inc. (NYSE:VRNG), as the latter has filed a lawsuit against Redmond for infringing the very same patents that got Vringo a $16 million award from Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) last year.

Last year alone, Vringo Inc. (NYSE:VRNG) successfully leveraged these two patents into successful lawsuits against Google, AOL Inc. (NYSE:AOL), IAC (NASDAQ:IACI) and Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) to the tune of $30 million combined. – though the company sought more than $700 million. Vringo was pursuing royalty payments from Google, but Google is not only been contesting that, but it is requesting a re-examination of the patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)The two patents involved deal specifically with what is called “relevance filtering technology,” which apparently helps place ads in a certain order on search results according to relevance of the search topic. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) so far has no comment about the lawsuit.

Patent litigation has seemed to become a hobby of many tech companies in recent years, but Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is one of the leaders in patent possession – according to a recent research report by the Brookings Institution – which might make it a prime target for patent challenges. Vringo Inc. (NYSE:VRNG) is looking for monetary damages for the infringement plus any past and future royalty payments for using the technology.

In the Brookings Institution report, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was deemed one of the five most innovative companies in terms of patent creation between 2007 and 2012, joining IBM (NYSE:IBM), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) and Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ:MU). The research also found that nearly two-thirds of patents created during this time were created in 20 metropolitan areas which accounted for one-third of the U.S. population.

Does the “most innovative” companies list surprise you? What is the bigger surprise, that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is on the list, or that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is not among the top-five? And what are your thoughts about this lawsuit brought by Vringo Inc. (NYSE:VRNG)? Let us know your comments below.

DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.

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