Microsoft in court yet again

CA-based Alacritech has won a preliminary injunction to prevent Microsoft from selling its “Chimney” TCP offload architecture.


San Jose, CA-based Alacritech has won a preliminary injunction in a US District Court to prevent Microsoft from selling its “Chimney” TCP offload architecture slated to be available in both the “Longhorn” version of the Windows operating system and in the Scalable Networking Pack for Windows Server 2003.


Alacritech sued Microsoft in a Federal District Court on August 11, 2004, alleging that Microsoft’s existing and future operating systems containing the “Chimney” TCP offload architecture uses Alacritech’s proprietary SLIC Technology architecture.


The suit is based on two of Alacritech’s fundamental patents relating to scalable networking, US Patent No. 6,427,171 and Patent No. 6,987,868, both entitled “Protocol Processing Stack for use with Intelligent Network Interface Device.”


“After Alacritech discovered that Microsoft Chimney is based on intellectual property that we developed, patented and own, we offered Microsoft a license,” said Larry Boucher, president and CEO, Alacritech.


“Microsoft rejected licensing terms that would be acceptable to us. We were forced to sue Microsoft to stop them from continuing to infringe, and inducing others to infringe, on our intellectual property rights. We are very pleased with the Court’s decision in this matter.”


“The standard required to grant a preliminary injunction is actually much higher than the standard required to win at trial,” said Mark Lauer, partner, Silicon Edge Law Group.


“Moreover, only one of Alacritech’s patent claims was before the Court on this motion, as opposed to the dozens of claims pending in this case. This also provides an indication of the strength of the other hundreds of patent claims owned by Alacritech in this area. I expect Microsoft to try to downplay the significance of this ruling. But last year, at a conference Microsoft called the most important conference for the PC hardware industry, Microsoft said this technology would allow them to rule the world for the next few years.”


Alacritech has been issued sixteen patents covering the fundamentals of network data placement, protocol offload, protocol acceleration and file cache offload. Alacritech said it took the action to protect its intellectual property and significant efforts in developing the Dynamic TCP Offload architecture for scalable networking products.