HoloTouch claims two patents are being infringed and that Microsoft is wilfully infringing them.
When talking about virtual reality, multiple companies are leading the way including Oculus, HTC, and Sony. But for mixed reality, there is one clear frontrunner in the form of Microsoft and its HoloLens smartglasses/headset. However, Microsoft is now facing a lawsuit threatening a jury trial and triple damages based on two patent infrignements.
As Neowin reports, the lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of New York by HoloTouch which owns two patents from 2002 and 2004 it believes Microsoft infringes. The demand for a jury trial and triple damages comes from the fact HoloTouch believes Microsoft willingly infringed the patents and apparently has the evidence to prove it.
HoloTouch helps develop touchless controls for a range of industries including "ATMs, automotive equipment, aviation devices, consumer electronics, gaming equipment, home appliances, kiosks, leisure products, medical and military equipment." The two patents in question cover controlling one or more devices without touching a solid control object, and an invention that reduces the power consumption, size, and weight of a holographic head-mounted interface.
Microsoft was first approached by HoloTouch in 2006 about a partnership, which the company claims Microsoft ignored. In 2013, HoloTouch claims Microsoft filed a patent citing HoloTouch patents as prior art, which if confirmed, could prove a willful infringement. Further contact was attempted by HoloTouch in November 2015 and January 2016 regarding patent licensing. Microsoft reponded stating the patanets had been reviewed but no licensing deal was pursued.
If HoloTouch does get its wish of a jury trial and triple damages, it could be a very expensive lawsuit for Microsoft. Losing would also result in HoloLens becoming more expensive for Microsoft as a patent licensing deal would then be required with HoloTouch going forward. Neither company is commenting further due to the pending litigation.