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Microsoft To Get $388 Million Back From Uniloc

Microsoft received a major relief in a patent violation case yesterday when a US federal judge overturned a jury ruling which had found it liable for infringing a patent held by anti-piracy software maker Uniloc Inc and had ordered $388 million in damages

The case dates back to 2003 when Uniloc of Singapore had filed a case against Microsoft, over some security software components that Microsoft was using to prevent the unlicensed use of its Windows XP operating system and MS Office software

Uniloc was able to secure a favourable jury verdict in April this year and Microsoft was ordered to pay $388 million in damages; however Microsoft appealed against the ruling and on Tuesday it was able to secure relief when a federal judge overturned the jury ruling.

The Singaporean firm has the option to appeal to a higher court and a company spokesperson said that "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".

It is interesting to note that Microsoft along with several other technological companies have called for an overhaul of patent regulations which enable frivolous legal challenges otherwise known as patent trolling.

Our Comments

Patent trolls are a real pain to deal with and are likely to become more prevalent as technology companies like Google and Microsoft become bigger and start building products and services for a much wider audience. By doing so, they run the risk of infringe upon some obscure intellectual property rights that's owned by the trolls, thereby triggering what is the legal equivalent of a landmine.

Related Links

Judge Overturns $388 Million Ruling Against Microsoft

(CIO Today)

Judge overturns $388 million patent award in Microsoft case

(After Dawn)

Microsoft Gets $388 Million Break, For Now

(Information Week)

Microsoft wins back $388m on Uniloc appeal


Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.