Salesforce.com Sues Microsoft, Claims SharePoint Infringes Patents
Last month, Microsoft (news, site) sued Salesforce.com. It would be rude, and a breach of tradition, for Salesforce to not respond in kind. 

Fight Lawyers With Lawyers

In a not-so-surprising response to last month's action, it is now Salesforce's turn to pay a bunch of overpriced lawyers in the industry's never-ending merry-go-round. Can't they all just be friends?

Apparently not.

Having called Microsoft "alley thugs" and "patent trolls" in response to Microsoft's suit, this time Salesforce accuses Microsoft of violating some of its own patents.

The new claim is based on violation of five Salesforce.com patents (as opposed to Microsoft's claim of 9 patents violated). The main focus will be on the biggie of SharePoint infringing Salesforce's patent of Web-based work sharing with some minor patents for behind-the-scenes stuff like cache management and error reporting also being thrown into the hat.

Bringing the Big Guns

To highlight how serious it is, Salesforce has hired David Boies, a former DOJ-lawyer who successfully took on Microsoft in the antitrust wars some years back. After mouthing off when Microsoft launched its case, Salesforce has now clammed up and both sides are waiting until court to commence battle.

While there is no official comment, Salesforce Chairman Marc Benioff, got a dig in at Microsoft in a recent blog post, citing the growing irrelevance of his Seattle rival. It'll be fun to see what else emerges in the cold war before the gavel bangs down for round one.

When this does get to court, the result could have serious repercussions for any product or enterprise that lets people work and collaborate on the Web. Would you rather pay Microsoft or Salesforce the patent license royalties?

Of course, if your company has its own patents in the collaboration or Web-working area, then why not join in the fun and hire a lawyer too!