More Patent Infringment Woes for Microsoft

Microsoft can't swing a dead IP protocol these days without hitting a patent-infringement lawsuit. First there was i4i, the software company that successfully sued them for ripping off their HTML editing software. Now a previous lawsuit, alleging that Microsoft stole anti-duplication software made by Uniloc Inc., has been given new life.

As the AP reports today, a federal appeals court has reversed the reversal of a 2009 patent-infringement ruling in which a jury found that Microsoft had illegally used a program made by Uniloc that kept people from putting one piece of software on several computers. The suit had originally been ruled in favor of Uniloc, then overturned by a judge in favor of Microsoft; now it's been overturned again, by a jury. And as everyone knows, you can't triple-stamp a double-stamp.

The only good news for Microsoft is that reopening the case also reopens the question of damages. Uniloc was awarded a cool $388 million the last go-round, and in the appeals court ruling the court found that figure "fundamentally tainted." Thus Microsoft has a good chance of shaving off some damages (though also an outside chance of seeing even more).

There's also the fact that Microsoft's retired co-founder Paul Allen is currently suing the entire Internet. So if that works out for him, it can't be a bad thing.

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