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February 16, 2007

Microsoft Supreme Court showdown with AT&T next week

Posted by David Hunter at 2:36 PM ET.

Shaheen Pasha at CNNMoney reminds us of the Supreme Court patent trial coming up next Wednesday that pits Microsoft against AT&T:

Corporate giants Microsoft and AT&T are getting set to duke it out before the U.S. Supreme Court next Wednesday (Feb. 21) in a case that will decide whether a company can be liable for infringement on a domestic patent abroad. Legal experts say the outcome could have widespread implications on both the software industry and the manner in which patent holders can protect their intellectual property.

The financial fall-out of a decision against Microsoft could cost the software industry billions of dollars, making Microsoft v. AT&T one of the major business cases on the high court’s docket this term.

“The case is clearly of huge importance in terms of monetary value,” said Richard Samp, chief counsel at Washington Legal Foundation.

The issue at hand is whether Microsoft violated AT&T’s domestic patent on sophisticated speech decoding technology by sending the software overseas to be replicated and installed in its Windows operating system.

Microsoft is appealing a lower court ruling against them and is estimated to be on the hook for about $1 billion if they lose. That’s not a negligible amount, but it won’t cause Microsoft major discomfort either. What has everyone’s juices flowing though is the underlying issue of domestic enforcement of domestic patents used overseas as discussed in the rest of the article and our previous mention of this lawsuit. A Microsoft loss here could open up a whole new world of software patent litigation.

Filed under AT&T, Coopetition, Microsoft, Patent Lawsuits, Patents

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One Response to “Microsoft Supreme Court showdown with AT&T next week”

  1. Supreme Court favors Microsoft in foreign patent fight with AT&T -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] More tech companies than just Microsoft are breathing a sigh of relief after Microsoft’s last ditch appeal to the US Supreme Court prevailed and limited liability for infringement of a domestic software patent abroad. IDG News Service’s Jeremy Kirk explains: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Microsoft is not liable for using patented AT&T technology in copies of Windows running on computers outside the United States. [...]

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