Feeds

Microsoft and Autodesk infringed patents, jury rules

z4 Technologies awarded $133m

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

An entrepreneur has been awarded $133m by a jury in a Texas courtroom after winning his claim that two of his anti-piracy software patents were infringed by Microsoft's Office and Windows XP, and Autodesk's AutoCAD programs.

David Colvin is founder of z4 Technologies Inc, a digital rights management company based in "Automation Alley", the high-tech centre of Michigan. The company exists to prevent infringement – and on a page of its website includes quotes from both Microsoft and Autodesk about the pest of piracy.

Colvin obtained patents for methods of assigning passwords and codes to individual copies of software to prevent unauthorised use. This week, Microsoft was ordered to pay him $115m and Autodesk $18m. The impact on their respective products is unknown.

Microsoft spokesperson Rachel Wayne told OUT-LAW.COM: "While we are disappointed with this verdict, we continue to contend that there was no infringement of any kind and that the facts in this case show that Microsoft developed its own product activation technologies well before z4 Technologies filed for its patent.

"We will await resolution of all issues by the trial court before we make any decisions."

According to Reuters, Microsoft awaits the court's decision on another point: whether z4 Technologies knowingly withheld information from the US Patent and Trademark Office about other companies' product activation technologies when submitting its patent applications.

In a separate decision earlier this week, a federal appeals court ruled that customers who bought computers with Microsoft's software preinstalled, or who bought its programs through a reseller, can't sue the Redmond company for anti-trust violations. Twenty-six plaintiffs were seeking up to $10bn in damages, but lost because they were indirect purchasers.

See: z4 patents

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.