Fingerprinting Technology Prompts Suit Vs. Microsoft

New York -- A Utah technology company is accusing Microsoft of trying to co-opt the intellectual property behind fingerprint devices, suing the software giant for patent infringement. International Automated Systems filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah on Tuesday, naming Microsoft as well as “John Does-#1-20” as defendants in the case.

“Having full knowledge of the patent, defendants Microsoft and John Does 1-20 have made, offered for sale, sold and used certain products, including fingerprint readers, that come within the scope of the claims of the patent,” the complaint alleges.

Originally issued to Neldon P. Johnson back in 1997, the patent in question involves the process for encrypting a fingerprint onto an I.D. card, according to the complaint.

Johnson later assigned the patent to IAS, which now fully owns the rights to the invention.

The complaint further asserts that Microsoft and the collective John Does have induced others to infringe the patent and “will continue to do so unless further enjoined by this court.”

Labeling the infringement as “willful and wanton,” IAS accused Microsoft of trying to deliberately filch the company’s invention.

“IAS has suffered monetary damages, including but not limited to lost profits and will continue to suffer more damages because of the defendants’ acts of infringement of the Patent,” read the complaint.

While the company is seeking damages, IAS stated that the harm inflicted by Microsoft and the unnamed defendants is not “fully compensable” by monetary reparations.

Tangling with Microsoft, though, may prove to be unfruitful for IAS.

The software goliath appears to be on a winning streak in its various patent litigation.

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit allowed Microsoft to proceed in its bid to replace the current judge presiding over its long-simmering patent dispute with Eolas Technologies involving Web browser technology.

Also in January, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office upheld two Microsoft patents covering technology for saving computer files using longer names, marking a victory for the software company’s much-challenged file saving system.

Founded in 1988 by a former AT&T communications engineer, IAS, Inc., develops high-technology products for an array of fields, including energy production, wireless communications, consumer purchasing and financial transactions.

The company is based in Salem, Utah.

The case is International Automated Systems Inc., versus Microsoft Corporation and John Does 1-20, U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Case Number: 2:06-CV-00114

--By Anne Urda,