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.
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.