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November 27, 2007

Microsoft loses 1 and wins 1 in patent lawsuit derby

Posted by David Hunter at 5:24 PM ET.

Catching up on some news beclouded by the Thanksgiving holiday in the USA, Microsoft’s appeal of a patent lawsuit judgement against it delivered by an East Texas jury was rejected on Nov. 16 by a federal appeals court:

Microsoft Corp. must pay more than $140 million for infringing on software patents owned by a Michigan-based technology company, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Z4 Technologies Inc. sued Microsoft and Autodesk Inc., maker of drafting software, in 2004, claiming the technology they used to activate newly installed software and deter piracy infringed on patents created and owned by David Colvin, the owner of privately held z4.

Paul McDougall has more on the issues at InformationWeek and Susan Decker has more on the eastern Texas venue at Bloomberg News, but as these things go, it looks like a fair cop.

However, Microsoft had some solace on Nov. 15 from the spanking handed out to notorious patent troll Acacia Research Corp. in another East Texas courtroom:

Acacia Research Corp. has won notoriety for its legal pursuit of giants like Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc., as the small firm’s business model depends on extracting patent licensing deals from these companies — often by threatening litigation.

But on Thursday, in a Texas courtroom, the first of Acacia’s many lawsuits to reach as far as a jury trial resulted in a legal setback.

In addition to finding that Microsoft did not infringe on an Acacia patent related to technology used to quickly power up computers, the jury decision delivered Thursday in federal court in Lufkin, Texas, invalidated the patent itself.

Ouch! Shares of Acacia tumbled 33% on the news.

Filed under Microsoft, Patent Lawsuits, Patents

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