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Tribe sues Amazon and Microsoft in patent spat

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A supercomputer hums at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation. (NASA Photo / Bill Hrybyk)

A Native American tribe and a small computer company have reportedly sued Amazon and Microsoft, claiming that they’re infringing on patents relating to supercomputer technology.

The lawsuits are the latest twists in a relatively new strategy under which companies assign patents to tribes that can in turn assert sovereign immunity to short-circuit review procedures.

Reuters and CNBC reported that the suits were filed today in federal district court in Virginia by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and SRC Labs. SRC, a company founded in 1996 by the late supercomputer pioneer Seymour R. Cray, assigned the patents in question to the tribe in August.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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