Microsoft Wins Office Patent Case

A jury finds that a Smart Tags feature in Microsoft Office does not infringe on a little-known company's patent.

Microsoft Corp. has won a favorable jury verdict in a 2-year-old patent-infringement case regarding technology used in its Office productivity suite.

After a two-week trial, a jury in U.S. District Court in Providence, R.I., ruled Wednesday that Microsofts Smart Tags technology does not infringe on a patent held by Norwegian inventor Alte Hedloy of Arendi Holding Ltd., a Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed.

The case centered on one of the three Smart Tags built into Microsoft Office XP and 2003. The feature in question works in Microsoft Word and associates a typed name with a contact in Microsoft Outlook. When users type a name, they can click an option to automatically enter the person into their Outlook contacts or, if the contact already exists, look up contact information or send an e-mail.

/zimages/2/28571.gifRead more here about Smart Tags.

Arendi alleged that the Smart Tags feature infringed on its patent, No. 6,323,853 and issued in 2001, which covers a method and system for retrieving information such as names and addresses with a single click.

A jury disagreed. While it ruled that Smart Tags do not infringe on the patent, the jury did find that the patent itself is valid, said a spokeswoman at Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft.

Arendi officials could not be reached for comment.

The Arendi case is the second patent-infringement case Microsoft has won regarding Offices Smart Tags technology. Last year, a federal judge dismissed another case brought by Hyperphrase Technologies LLC and Hyperphrase Inc. after Microsoft requested a summary judgment.

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