September 30, 2009 - Judge William Smith of the US District Court for the District of Rhode Island has issued a judgment overturning an April 2009 jury verdict that hit Microsoft with one of the largest patent awards on record: $388 million. The decision comes as Microsoft awaits the outcome of its litigation with i4i, which could potentially cost Microsoft $290 million and ban the sales of some Word products.
In a patent lawsuit that has been going for six years, California-based Uniloc USA and its parent company (based in Singapore) first sued Microsoft in September 2003. At issue was whether Microsoft's use of a software activation key to prevent users from installing licensed software on multiple computers infringed Uniloc's patent, No. 5,490,216, "System for Software Registration."
In April 2009, a jury found that Microsoft willfully infringed Uniloc's patent. Microsoft was ordered to pay $388 million in damages to Uniloc, but this new ruling has overturned that verdict.
Uniloc CEO Brad Davis said in a statement that the company plans to appeal Judge Smith's decision.