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August 22, 2006

Microsoft gets increased penalty in Z4 patent suit

Posted by David Hunter at 9:25 AM ET.

Back in April, Microsoft and Autodesk were hit with penalties in a patent infringement suit brought by Z4 Technologies. Yesterday, the judge in the case raised the original $115M Microsoft penalty by $25M:

Microsoft willfully infringed on the patents of a small Michigan company and engaged in litigation misconduct in its effort to defend itself, a federal judge ruled Friday.

U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis upped a jury’s award against Microsoft by $25 million, plus nearly $2 million in legal costs. He cited several instances of misconduct and “ample circumstantial evidence” that Microsoft viewed the patent-holder, closely held z4 Technologies, as “a small and irrelevant company that was not worthy of Microsoft’s time and attention, even if Microsoft was potentially infringing its patents.”

Microsoft plans to challenge the decision at the U.S. Court of Appeals.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans said in an e-mail. “We believe that the facts in this case clearly show that Microsoft and others developed their own product activation technologies well before z4 Technologies claims to have created this technology.”

Autodesk did not return calls for comment.

More details including examples of the “litigation misconduct” by following the link.

Filed under Legal, Microsoft, Patent Lawsuits, Patents

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