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Win98 and IE broke Sun copyright – judge rules

But the ruling is 'tentative and non-binding'

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MS on Trial Microsoft infringed Sun's copyright in both Windows 98 and Internet Explorer 4.0, a judge ruled yesterday. The ruling, issued prior to the next session of the Sun-Microsoft Java lawsuit next month, is 'non-binding and tentative, but is effectively an indication of the judge's current views. Judge Ronald Whyte said that these and other Microsoft products infringed Sun's copyright by failing to comply with the licensing agreement with the company. But he also ruled that Microsoft was able to develop related technology provided it doesn't rely on Sun's intellectual property. Judge Whyte has previously ruled that Sun is likely to win the case, so the latest rulings tighten the screws somewhat. The views he expressed yesterday do not however help Microsoft much in contingency planning. A full-scale ruling will be made after oral arguments on 24 June, but at the moment it appears Microsoft could carry on as normal, work on non-infringing compatible technologies, or both. ® Complete Register trial coverage

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