Microsoft Faces Uniloc Appeal in Patent Case

 
 
By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2009-10-01 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Microsoft may have won an appeal in a patent-infringement case that would have forced it to pay $388 million to software company Uniloc, but Uniloc nonetheless plans to entangle its six-year legal battle even further by appealing the court's decision. Microsoft finds itself embroiled in two high-profile patent-infringement cases, the other against Canadian company i4i.

Microsoft may face another round of legal hurdles in the patent-infringement case leveled against it by Uniloc, despite winning an appeal on Sept. 29 that spared Redmond from having to pay $388 million in damages to the smaller software company.

Uniloc plans on appealing that most recent decision.

"We are disappointed by the decision the trial judge has made to overturn the jury's unanimous verdict in Uniloc's patent infringement case against Microsoft," read Uniloc's official statement, emailed to eWEEK on Sept. 30. "We believe that the jury's verdict in April was thoughtful, well-reasoned and supported by the evidence presented."

"Since the patent status remains unchanged," the statement added, "Uniloc will continue to protect its intellectual property and appeal the Judge's decision to override the jury's verdict to the U.S. Court of Appeals."

In its original lawsuit, Uniloc argued that Microsoft's anti-piracy registration system for Windows XP and certain parts of Office violated their own patent for product activation. Three years after the case was submitted, in 2006, U.S. District Judge William Smith ruled in favor of Microsoft, setting off an immediate Uniloc appeal.

As part of its appeal, Uniloc suggested that Judge Smith had appointed an "evening law student who was finishing his Ph.D. in computer science" instead of an independent expert to review the intricacies of the case. As insult to injury, Uniloc insisted in court documents, "the intern had numerous ties to Microsoft."

Uniloc's appeal initially bore fruit, with the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island ruling in August 2008 that Microsoft had violated the patent. However, Microsoft appealed the case and won, erasing the $388 million it would have had to pay in damages.

"We are pleased that the court has vacated the jury verdict and entered judgment in favor of Microsoft," Kevin Kutz, a Microsoft spokesperson, told Reuters.

Uniloc's appeal could represent another legal entanglement for Microsoft, which is already fighting another patent-infringement case with Canadian firm i4i. In August, an East Texas court found that certain coding in Microsoft Word violated i4i's patents, and ordered Redmond to pay $300 million and pull all copies of Word from store shelves within 60 days.

A full breakdown by eWEEK of the i4i-Microsoft patent dispute can be found , i4i executives indicated in an interview with eWEEK that they plan to fight the case in court to the bitter end.

 
 
 
 
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
 
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters























 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rocket Fuel