Microsoft settles over Aussie-invented patent

 

'Its over'.

The Australian inventor behind an eight-year patent battle with Microsoft has welcomed the software giant’s settlement with the Singapore company he founded.

After countless court battles in the US and several overturned judgments, Microsoft and Uniloc this week reached a “final and mutually agreeable resolution”, according to a spokesman for the company.

The settlement marks the end of the long-spanning battle between Australian inventor Ric Richardson, his company and Microsoft over a patent granted to Richardson in 1996.

The companies had been locked in US courts since 2003 when Uniloc sought damages from Microsoft for infringing the patent to create software worth up to US$19 billion in market value.

It was alleged the software giant had infringed Richardson’s patent (number 5,490,216) in developing its product activation systems, including those used in Microsoft Word, Windows XP and the Clearinghouse facility used to maintain licensing for its Remote Desktop Service.

Uniloc had initially sought up to US$564 million in damages for the patent infringement but was awarded $388 million by a jury in April 2009.

However, that penalty decision was overturned by an appeals judge later that year, sending the companies into further legal battles. US District Court judges reinstated Uniloc’s eligibility for damages on the patent case earlier this year.

Any resulting penalties awarded appears to have been waylaid by Microsoft’s settlement.

“Its over!” Richardson said on his blog this morning.

“At some stage, what this means for Uniloc and Microsoft will become more apparent, but for me as the inventor it means the question mark hanging over my patent is no longer in question.”

He told iTnews today he was relieved the case had been finished.

“You can’t ignore it, even though I’m an inventor and moving onto other things and trying to use everything I learned getting Uniloc going, it’s still a big thing by any standards,” he said.

“It’s great for it to have been resolved amicably.”

Richardson, who left Uniloc to pursue other interests in 2007, would not reveal his personal gain or the company’s financial settlement but said it would “be as valuable as I could expect”.

"That means more resources to do other things and it legitimises the whole Uniloc business," he said.

Richardson said on his blog this morning that “having a large powerful corporation as a detractor is not an easy thing to deal with”.

He has since spent time mentoring other Australian inventors and aiding their patent efforts.

The Singapore company he founded has launched similar cases for patent infringement against Sony and McAfee.

A spokesman for Microsoft Australia did not return request for comment at time of writing.

Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.


Microsoft settles over Aussie-invented patent
 
 
 
Top Stories
Toll Group to go Google
Poaches Woolworths project manager.
 
How News Corp's CIO tackled skills in his race to the cloud
What to do when your team’s talents are no longer needed.
 
Photos: How Thodey transformed Telstra
From turbulent Trujillo to Australia's leading telco.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest articles on BIT Latest Articles from BIT
Microsoft is offering Azure for Disaster Recovery to Australian SMBs
Feb 10, 2015
If you haven't talked to your IT provider about disaster recovery, it might be worth discussing ...
The 2015 Xero Roadshow is on: here are the locations and dates
Feb 6, 2015
The 2015 Xero Roadshow kicked off this week - see where you can attend at locations around ...
Microsoft Outlook is now on iPhone and iPad: why could this be useful?
Jan 30, 2015
Microsoft today released Office for Android and Outlook for iOS - complementing the other Office ...
Franchisees, here's something you should know about
Jan 23, 2015
You need to know the Code if you are a franchisee or franchisor as the penalties are significant.
Xero users rejoice! Quoting has finally arrived
Jan 23, 2015
It has taken years, but Xero has at last added integrated quoting to its online accounting software.
Latest Comments
Polls
Who do you trust most to protect your private data?







   |   View results
Your bank
  35%
 
Your insurance company
  5%
 
A technology company (Google, Facebook et al)
  8%
 
Your telco, ISP or utility
  8%
 
A retailer (Coles, Woolworths et al)
  4%
 
A Federal Government agency (ATO, Centrelink etc)
  18%
 
An Australian law enforcement agency (AFP, ASIO et al)
  15%
 
A State Government agency (Health dept, etc)
  7%
TOTAL VOTES: 3951

Vote
Do you support the abolition of the Office of the Information Commissioner?

   |   View results
I support shutting down the OAIC.
  27%
 
I DON'T support shutting the OAIC.
  73%
TOTAL VOTES: 1343

Vote