HoloLens lands Microsoft patent lawsuit and "triple damages" threat
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Microsoft is currently the only company betting on the mixed reality technology with its HoloLens headsets. The first version was released mostly to developers and featured a pretty spicy price, but Microsoft is now preparing to release a second version that will integrate an AI chip and should get a more affordable price tag. Meanwhile, HoloTouch decided to step forward and push for a lawsuit and triple damage threat, as the company believes Microsoft’s HoloLens infringes on two of its patents.
HoloTouch is behind the development of a series of touch-less controls implemented in various apparel, including ATMs, automotive equipment, aviation devices, consumer electronics, gaming equipment, home appliances, kiosks, leisure products, and medical and military gear. The two patents invoked by HoloTouch involve the control of one or more devices without touching a solid control object, and a design that reduces the power consumption, size and weight of a holographic head-mounted device.
Still, how did Microsoft get implicated in all this? In early 2006, Microsoft was approached by HoloTouch for a potential partnership, but this endeavor was apparently ignored altogether. Flash forward to 2013, when Microsoft filed the patents for HoloLens, and HoloTouch claims that its own two patents were used as prior art. If this turns out to be true, it may prove that Microsoft committed willful infringement. HoloTouch even attempted to license its patents to Microsoft in 2015 and 2016, but the two companies haven’t yet struck any deal in this regard.
In the case of HoloTouch winning the lawsuit, Microsoft could be forced to pay substantial fees, not to mention that the second version of HoloLens could end up costing even more than the first one, as it would require a patent license from HoloTouch. Microsoft has not yet released any official statement on this matter.