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Microsoft settles $60 million video patent dispute

Full steam ahead for er, NetMeeting

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Microsoft has settled a patent infringement case by cutting a licensing deal and paying the plaintiff $60 million. ImagExpo GmbH, a Munich-based subsidiary of SPX Corporation, the large US industrial manufacturer, claimed that Microsoft's now defunct NetMeeting software infringed on a whiteboard patent held by the firm. A jury in a Virginia district court decided in favor of SPX in November.

Earlier this year Microsoft was ordered to pay $561 million to a one-man company which was granted a patent on embedded content on a network. The USPTO is re-examining the validity of the patent after a public outcry.

Some 46 per cent of patents that reach the courtroom are adjudged to be invalid.

But Redmond is unlikely to be in deficit for very long. In the summer Microsoft hired the senior IBM executive who created Big Blue's patent licensing program. Last month, for the first time, Redmond began a commercial IP licensing program beginning with the FAT and FAT32 file systems still widely used by consumer device manufacturers. That's one to watch. ®

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