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Judge tosses out patent infringement verdict against Microsoft

Uniloc's $388m damages turn to dust

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Microsoft has won an appeal against a $388m patent infringement jury verdict meted out to the company in April, following a lawsuit brought by anti-piracy software maker Uniloc.

The long-running legal spat was originally brought by Uniloc USA and its Singapore-based parent company in 2003, with the firm alleging Microsoft had infringed its patented technology for its software activation methods.

Yesterday US district judge William Smith in Providence, Rhode Island overruled the jury’s verdict.

Smith said in his order that the jury “lacked a grasp of the issues before it and reached a finding without a legally sufficient basis”.

The $388m damages award Microsoft had been ordered to Pay Uniloc was one of the largest on record in legal disputes involving patents.

In April, Redmond said it was disappointed with the jury’s verdict, insisted it hadn’t been guilty of infringement, claimed the patent was “invalid”, and that the award of damages had been “legally and factually unsupported”.

Smith concluded in his order that Microsoft hadn’t infringed the patent, but also dismissed the software giant’s efforts to challenge the validity of the patent.

It’s unclear at this stage if Uniloc, which could not be reached for comment at time of writing, will appeal the judge’s decision. ®

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