IP Innovation and Technology Licensing claims its US Patent Number 5,072,412 for a User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects has been violated.
It says it was granted the patent in December 1991. The patent house wants damages and royalties for the alleged breach. It says it warned both companies about the alleged breach before it issued its action.
Both companies are considering their response. Earlier this month, Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, warned Red Hat users that royalties were due to Microsoft as a result of its patents being violated in the Red Hat Linux distribution.
Because Microsoft has struck a Linux technology deal with Novell, Novell Linux users are protected from any legal action over Microsoft patents allegedly breached in the development of Linux products.