An Australian who sued Microsoft and won $440 million in damages is now considering his options after a US Federal Court judge reversed the ruling.
Australian inventor and IT pioneer Ric Richardson was the inventor of the Uniloc system for eliminating casual copying of protected software. His Singapore based company ,Uniloc, sued Microsoft in 2003 claiming that Microsoft infringed its patent with security software it was using to protect copies of Windows XP and some versions of its Office suite against illegal copying. They are now considering their options.
In April, a US Court ruled that Microsoft, who had been shown the software by Richardson had violated the Uniloc patent and ordered Microsoft to pay Uniloc $US388 million, one of the largest patent jury awards in US history.
Judge William Smith who also sits in the US Federal Court ruled that the jury had failed to understand the complex nature of the computer code at issue, and in effect had fallen for an over-simplified explanation offered by Uniloc’s attorney. He “vacated” their verdict, ruling in favour of Microsoft.
Richardson patented the technology during his former career as a sound equipment programmer for rock and pop musicians and performers, including INXS and John Denver.