Forgent Sues Microsoft over JPEG Patent

Company expands case over alleged infringement of file compression patent.

Almost a year to the day after filing patent infringement lawsuits against 31 companies, including Adobe Systems Inc., Apple Computer Inc., Dell Inc. and IBM, Austin, Texas-based Forgent Networks Inc. last week said that its wholly owned subsidiary Compression Labs Inc. has filed suit against Microsoft Corp. for alleged infringement on the patent for JPEG file compression.

In an interview with last year, Forgent spokesperson Michael Noonan said that Forgent owns the algorithm used in the JPEG file protocol to compress data for encoding, decoding and transport. The company has already received licensing revenues totaling about $100 million from more than 38 companies that use JPEG, including a $16 million licensing deal with Sony back in mid-2002.

On Friday, Noonan told that while companies such as Hewlett-Packard Co., Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. have filed counter lawsuits against Forgent, other companies including Adobe and Macromedia Inc. have since signed licensing deals with the company.

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"All kinds of companies use all types of tactics, and every company, depending on the counsel they receive internally, make their decisions accordingly— and in some cases, a judge and jury will have to decide," Noonan said.

Forgent filed the Microsoft suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, less than a week after Microsoft filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California asking that court to invalidate any infringement or enforceability claims relating to the patent.

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