Tuesday, Microsoft filed what Ars Technica is calling a "rare" patent infringement lawsuit against.Salesforce.com. The software juggernaut argues that the customer relationship management software-as-a-service provider has infringed nine of its patents, covering technology related to "stacking toolbars on a computer display" and "controlling access to data entities," among other things.
Microsoft wants temporary and permanent injunctions, as well as monetary damages, according to the complaint. The suit surfaces as competition between the two companies ramps up, and it's unusual because Microsoft usually negotiates license agreements with companies it alleges are infringing its patents, rather than resorting to litigation.
In fact, Microsoft has only filed patent-infringement suits three times in recent years - against Belkin in 2006, Primax Electronics in 2008 and against TomTom last year. In the TomTom case at least, the parties ultimately settled out of court.
For its part, Salesforce.com has yet to comment on the lawsuit.