Microsoft $388M Antipiracy Patent Ruling Overturned

Dennis Faas's picture

Just a few months after being slammed by a Texas federal judge for infringing on the patent of a Canadian company, a similarly critical lawsuit has, in this instance, gone Microsoft's way. Earlier this week a Rhode Island judge overturned a Singapore company's $388 million victory against the Redmond-based software giant.

MS Accused of Piracy, using Antipiracy Software

First filed in a Rhode Island federal court in 2003, the case involved Singapore-based Uniloc, which accused Microsoft of illegally incorporating its antipiracy technology with Windows operating system (OS) and Microsoft's Office productivity suite. Uniloc won over a jury earlier this year, capturing record damages for a case of this kind.

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft appealed the decision and the $388 million in damages awarded to Uniloc (which had originally sought an astounding $560 million).

Uniloc Vows to Fight On

It's not yet clear exactly why Rhode Island U.S. federal judge William Smith overturned the decision for Uniloc, but the company promises another appeal. "Uniloc will continue to protect its intellectual property and appeal the Judge's decision to override the jury's verdict to the US Court of Appeals," a company spokesperson said. "We are confident that Uniloc will ultimately prevail." (Source:

Microsoft, which is currently fighting to have the number of patent cases like this one reduced through the Patent Reform Act of 2009, is obviously pleased with the new decision. In an email to the media on Tuesday night, the company announced that it was "pleased that the court has vacated the jury verdict and entered the judgment in favor of Microsoft."

A See-Saw Case

Uniloc's antipiracy tools were designed to prevent users from installing software on more than one PC. According to them, a member of their company demonstrated the technology for Microsoft sixteen years ago with the understanding that the larger software firm would not rip them off. Microsoft contended that the patent was "obvious" and that it used a different method in implementing the technology.

This isn't Microsoft's first win in the matter, since in 2007 it won a summary ruling that was soon after appealed by Uniloc, resulting in the huge award in April of this year. (Source:

Rate this article: 
No votes yet