Mobile phone company Sendo today started legal proceedings in London against Orange, claiming patent infringement in the design of the Orange SPV smartphone. Given that the "Orange" SPV uses HTC hardware with a Microsoft operating system and an Orange look and feel on top of that, picking on Orange might seem a tad odd - but once you've disentangled the rationale, it begins to look like the company with the problem is Microsoft, again.
Sendo broke up noisily with Microsoft last year, in a flurry of lawsuits that included claims of IP theft. Sendo is now claiming that the SPV infringes a patent "relating to the design of the circuit board within the phone." The patent in question was filed in the UK, and therefore the action is being taken in the UK against the obvious UK target. But "it is regrettable that we had to take action against Orange," a Sendo spokeswoman told The Register.
She was unable to say whether or not the Tanager smartphone design might also be subject to future action, but noted that Sendo has filed patent applications in all major territories, that it does not rule out other actions, and that it has to take action in order to defend its patents: "The key is we have to."
In a statement, Sendo CEO said "we are now in a position that we have to take legal steps. We are seeking damages and an injunction to restrain sales of the product. As we have previously stated, if Sendo believes that its global intellectual property rights are infringed, wherever in the world this might be, we will take steps to defend those rights."
Which boils down to a stated intent to sue locally wherever a handset it deems to infringe its intellectual property rights ships. Which may be a worry to network operators considering shipping Microsoft smartphones. Which is why Microsoft is the company with the problem, even before you start to wonder what Sendo might contend about how any allegedly infringing IP might have got to HTC.
Orange told The Register that it was aware that an action had been initiated and said it strongly denied any improprietary. The company has however contacted the parties involved in the design and build of the SPV. The names may be familiar to you, we reckon... ®