HoloLens patent breach leads to Microsoft lawsuit

HoloLens patent breach leads to Microsoft lawsuit
Sean Cleaver

By Sean Cleaver

November 23rd 2017 at 10:04AM

Reports from Engadgent suggest the suit, filed by HoloTouch, claims technology in the mixed reality headset has been used while Microsoft 'willfully' knew it was patented

A lawsuit against Microsoft by Connecticut-based HoloTouch could be a snag in the rollout of the HoloLens mixed reality headset, according to a report from Engadget.

HoloTouch claims that Microsoft has known that two patents relating to holographic imaging technology are patented by the company but that they have used it for years regardless. 

Starting back in 2006, HoloTouch claims that it approach Microsoft for a partnership with no reply. Then in 2013 Microsoft filed its own patent for technology that described the HoloTouch technology as "prior art", which the lawsuit argues means that Microsoft was aware of the existing patents. Finally, in November 2015 and January 2016, HoloTouch approached Microsoft to discussing licensing over its patents but Microsoft declined to enter discussions.

This could be a very difficult lawsuit as the patents in question are not only an integral part of the HoloLens headset but also what the patents cover are almost ubiquitous with the medium, such as holographic control mechanisms and depth cameras. This also means that many other mixed reality headset developers could be at risk of legal action.

You can read the full litigation document here, which details exactly what parts of the holographic interface that HoloTouch is claiming to have been "willfully" used by Microsoft regardless of patent ownership.