Court bars Microsoft from shipping networking feature

Microsoft's "Chimney" networking technology is embroiled in a patent infringement lawsuit.

A court is blocking Microsoft from using a networking feature planned for the future operating system code-named Longhorn and a service pack for Windows Server 2003 that had been scheduled to come out last year, according to a company suing Microsoft over the technology.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco has granted Alacritech's request for a preliminary injunction to keep Microsoft from using the TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) offload technology that Microsoft has code-named "Chimney," Alacritech said in a statement Wednesday. The technology was to have been included in the Scalable Networking Pack for Windows Server 2003, set for release in the second half of 2004, according to information on Microsoft's Web site.

TCP is the key protocol used in most IP (Internet Protocol) data networks. TCP offload technology shifts the burden of handling TCP tasks from the main processor of a server or workstation to a network interface card or other component, leaving the main processor more capacity for application processing. Alacritech promotes its patented SLIC Technology architecture as scalable enough to meet future networking and I/O needs at 10G bps (bits per second) and beyond.

Alacritech claims it discussed its technology with Microsoft in 1998 and that Microsoft subsequently cut off communication with the company. In May 2003 Microsoft demonstrated a technology it called "Chimney" that Alacritech said was similar to its own intellectual property. Alacritech offered Microsoft a license, but Microsoft rejected Alacritech's terms, and in Aug. 2004, Alacritech filed suit claiming patent infringement. In November it filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to keep Microsoft from infringing the patent or inducing others to do so, according to Alacritech's statement.

Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake said Wednesday that Chimney was independently developed by Microsoft engineers. The company has just received the documents on the injunction and is reviewing its options, she said. Drake said the Scalable Networking Pack has not yet shipped, but did not know whether the lawsuit had stalled its release. She declined to comment on a possible licensing deal to resolve the dispute.

The preliminary injunction prevents Microsoft from "making, using, offering for sale, selling, importing or inducing others to use" Chimney, according to Alacritech's statement Wednesday.

Alacritech, based in San Jose, California, makes network interface cards, iSCSI controllers and ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) and sells products through both its own channels and other vendors.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?