(Redwood Shores, CA, December 15, 2005) - Visto Corporation has filed a legal action against Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) for misappropriating Visto’s intellectual property. The complaint asserts that Microsoft has infringed upon multiple patents Visto holds regarding proprietary technology that provides enterprises and consumers with mobile access to their email and other data. The company is seeking a permanent injunction that would prohibit Microsoft from misappropriating the technology that Visto and its cofounder helped develop nearly a decade ago.
Brian A. Bogosian, Visto’s Chairman, CEO and President, will hold a press teleconference this afternoon at 2:00 pm Eastern Time / 11:00 am Pacific Time to discuss the lawsuit and answer questions from members of the media. Members of the media may dial in at (877) 357-0594. The conference ID is 3370519.
“Microsoft has a long and well-documented history of acquiring the technology of others, branding it as their own, and entering new markets,” said Mr. Bogosian. “In some cases, they buy that technology from its creator. In other cases, they wrongfully misappropriate the intellectual property that belongs to others, which has forced them to acknowledge and settle large IP cases with companies like Sun, AT&T and Burst.com. For their foray into mobile email and data access, Microsoft simply decided to misappropriate Visto’s well known and documented patented technology.”
Visto has been at the forefront of developing mobile communications solutions for nearly ten years. Company co-founder Daniel Méndez and others developed the system to allow consumers to securely receive their email and other sensitive data via mobile phones or other mobile devices while traveling. Méndez and Visto went on to patent the system that drives email from personal or business servers to mobile devices like cell phones and allows users to access sensitive data and email stored behind highly secure corporate firewalls.
“With the recent explosion in smart phone technology and demand for mobile email access, the market has caught up with Visto’s original vision,” said Mr. Méndez. “We worked many long nights over many years and invested heavily to develop and patent our technology at a time when many people thought we were working on future fantasies. Now, when the market potential is obvious to everyone, other companies want to misappropriate the technologies that we invented and to benefit, for free, from our hard work and innovation.”
“For more than a decade, small, innovative companies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere have lived in fear of the day Microsoft decides to enter their market,” Bogosian said. “They are a big, powerful, wealthy company, but they have no real growth, even in their most profitable divisions. They want to show investors that they can sustain growth in a new, developing market, like mobile access to email and data, but they cannot be permitted to do that by misappropriating another company’s intellectual property.”
“Innovative companies have been pummeled out of existence or into minor players after Microsoft decided to enter their markets,” Bogosian added. “Netscape and RealNetworks are among the best known examples. Courts around the world have ruled time after time against Microsoft, saying that it has acted either inappropriately or in violation of the law, especially concerning how they have treated competing companies. We will not let that happen to Visto.”
Visto is a leading global provider of communications platforms. Individual and business subscribers get Visto Mobile service – which is invisible to the user – through their mobile phone carrier. Visto’s clients include many of the world’s largest mobile phone carriers like Cingular, Sprint-Nextel, the Vodafone Group, and Rogers Wireless.
Headquartered in Redwood Shores, CA, Visto has over 300 employees spread across offices in ten countries. The company holds 25 patents, including those related to mobile access email and data systems, and has 57 patents pending.
Concerning the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Visto asserts that Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 5.0 is a blatant infringement on Visto’s patented technology. Visto’s concerns about this market are heightened by Microsoft’s recent decision to bundle Windows Mobile 5.0 with their already market-dominating Exchange server software. This method of bundling software has led Microsoft to be prosecuted by competition authorities in the past, and in this case, potentially increases the rate and manner in which their infringement on Visto’s patents occurs.
Visto’s lawsuit specifically alleges that Microsoft has infringed on three patents relating to its mobile access to email and data technology:
• U.S. Patent No. 6,085,192 titled, “System And Method For Securely Synchronizing Multiple Copies Of A Workspace Element In A Network”
• U.S. Patent No. 6,708,221 titled, “System And Method For Globally And Securely Accessing Unified Information In A Computer Network”
• U.S. Patent No. 6,151,606 titled, “System And Method For Using A Workspace Data Manager To Access, Manipulate And Synchronize Network Data”
The complaint seeks a permanent injunction that would prohibit Microsoft from continuing to misappropriate Visto’s intellectual property. The company also seeks monetary damages as compensation for Microsoft’s illegal actions.
“We are confident that our country’s legal system will uphold the protections provided for in the law. The law protects innovators from corporate predators – large or small –including those with well documented histories of bad corporate behavior,” said Mr. Bogosian.
Visto delivers the leading global platform for mobile operators to provide wireless push email to the broadest set of mobile devices. Visto’s open solution enables email for the mass market, targeting large enterprises, small businesses, mobile professionals and consumers. Visto’s customized, brandable solutions are available through mobile operators worldwide including Cingular, Elisa, KPN, Rogers Wireless, SmarTone, SFR, Sprint-Nextel, TELUS Mobility and the Vodafone Group.
Established in 1996, Visto is backed by Oak Investment Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DFJ ePlanet Ventures, VantagePoint Venture Partners, Meritech Capital Partners, Rustic Canyon Ventures, Allegis Capital and Blueprint Ventures. For more information, visit www.visto.com.
**NOTE: Visto Chairman, CEO and President Brian Bogosian will be available today for questions at 2:00 pm EDT/11:00 am PDT. Please dial-in at (877) 357-0594. The conference ID is 3370519.
Suzanne Panoplos, Visto Corporation