Judge Tosses $388 Million Patent Verdict Against Microsoft (Updated)

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A Rhode Island judge said the jury “lacked a grasp of the issues” and threw out their $388 million verdict against Microsoft (MSFT).  Uniloc Inc. had accused Microsoft of violating a patent on software used to deter piracy.

The verdict was the second largest patent verdict this year after a $1.67 billion verdict against Abbott Laboratories in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas.  (One is almost surprised these days to read about a patent trial that is not hosted by Marshall, TX, a small town known for its holiday light display.)

Bloomberg:  The jury had found that Microsoft violated a patent owned by Uniloc Singapore Private Ltd. and Uniloc USA Inc., which claimed Microsoft wrongfully used their security technology to earn billions of dollars.

Uniloc’s suit, filed in October 2003, targeted Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system and some Office programs. Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, argued that it used a different method for registering software and that the patent was invalid…

Lawyers for Uniloc showed jurors at trial a pie chart with $19.1 billion in revenue from the Windows XP operating system and some versions of Word. They were seeking 2.9 per cent of that total, or $564 million. 

Even if an appeals court reinstates the jury’s infringement finding, Microsoft would still be entitled to another trial on damages, the judge said, because it was inappropriate for the jury to see the $19.1 billion revenue on the pie chart.

Read the entire article here

UPDATE:  Uniloc’s CEO, Brad Davis, emailed us with a statement:  “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.  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, Uniloc will continue to protect its intellectual property and appeal the Judge’s decision to override the jury’s verdict to the US Court of Appeals.  We are confident that Uniloc will ultimately prevail.”

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