A US COURT has confirmed that Microsoft has been nailed by a company that claimed the software giant nicked its technology to build anti-counterfeiting software.
A ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington confirmed the validity of a patent owned by Uniloc, but it ordered a new trial to reassess the amount of damages that the Vole should pay.
The ruling also threw out a method used to calculate patent infringement damage awards, and this means that the Vole is unlikely to have to write such a big cheque.
The court called for a new trial on damages, saying that a 2009 lower court award of $388 million was "fundamentally tainted by the use of a legally inadequate methodology".
Courts shouldn't allow damages to be based on a common calculation that has as a starting point the "rule of thumb" assumption that 25 per cent of a product's value goes to the patent owner, the judges ruled.
David Howard, deputy general counsel for Microsoft told Bloomberg that the case might signal the end of unreasonable and outsized damages awards based on faulty methodology.
US District Judge William Smith in Providence, Rhode Island had thrown out the 2009 verdict that Uniloc had won, and it was appealing that decision.
Uniloc at least has the satisfaction of having its patent upheld, but it is unlikely to see the sort of cash it might have got before.
Still, Uniloc can be pleased that the ruling means it can now go sue Symantec and Adobe. µ
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