Microsoft Loses $140 Million Patent Appeal

It may be pocket change for Microsoft, but the company and CAD software maker Autodesk have been ordered to pay privately held z4 Technologies over $140 million for technology they used to activate newly installed software and deter piracy. The appeals court agreed that the method used by Microsoft and Autodesk infringed on patents created and owned by David Colvin, the owner of z4.

According to the ruling, Microsoft's Windows XP and Office 2003 suite of productivity software used z4's patented method of asking buyers of the software to supply two passwords, or authorization codes, before they could use the software. Microsoft had claimed that the patents were invalid.

In case you're wondering where your license fees go to, Microsoft must have huge legal bills. Wish some of that could go into improving products or support? Let me know at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Peter Varhol on November 27, 2007 at 11:57 AM


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