Microsoft Loses Patent Appeal

A federal appeals court has just ruled that Microsoft must pay more than $140 million for infringing on software patents owned by a Michigan-based technology company, z4 Technologies. The company had sued Microsoft and Autodesk, maker of drafting software, in 2004, claiming the technology they used to activate newly installed software and deter piracy infringed on patents created and owned by David Colvin, the owner of privately held z4. z4 argued that Microsoft's Windows XP and Office 2003 suite of productivity software used its patented method of asking computer users to supply two passwords, or authorization codes, before they could fully use new software.

In April of last year, a federal jury in East Texas ordered Microsoft to pay $115 million to z4, plus attorney fees and $25 million for willful patent infringement. The OS maker, which had argued that the patents were invalid, appealed the decision. Unfortunately for MS, on Nov. 16, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the lower court's decision in its entirety. Microsoft spokesman David Bowermaster said Windows Vista and Office 2007 are not affected by the appeals court decision and that the company does not have to make any technical changes to Windows XP or Office 2003.

News source: SiliconValley.com


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z4 argued that Microsoft's Windows XP and Office 2003 suite of productivity software used its patented method of asking computer users to supply two passwords, or authorization codes, before they could fully use new software.

This is why software patents are ridiculous. If I built an app that asked for two passwords/codes before I let users actually use my app, I'd be infringing on their patent. I could write a program to do that right now. Although I don't use Autodesk apps and I'm certainly no MS advocate, I must say that this is completely stupid. Neither company should have been required to pay any monies to z4. This is outrageous.

rpgfan said,

This is why software patents are ridiculous. If I built an app that asked for two passwords/codes before I let users actually use my app, I'd be infringing on their patent. I could write a program to do that right now. Although I don't use Autodesk apps and I'm certainly no MS advocate, I must say that this is completely stupid. Neither company should have been required to pay any monies to z4. This is outrageous.

Yet another reason to switch to a Mac, Apple unlike Microsoft never loses a patent appeal.

internetworld7 said,

Yet another reason to switch to a Mac, Apple unlike Microsoft never loses a patent appeal. :cool:

Oh come on..does everything have to ultimately come down to justify buying a Mac? What next? The weather is gloomy and cloudy but if you get a Mac, its bright screen will serve as an alternate sun?

Anyway, personally, there should be a limit on what you CAN patent/copyright. Some of these are just ridiculous, the implementation of "typing an authorization code twice" is a "patent." There should be a minimum level of complexity to the item before it can be patented.

rpgfan said,

This is why software patents are ridiculous. If I built an app that asked for two passwords/codes before I let users actually use my app, I'd be infringing on their patent. I could write a program to do that right now. Although I don't use Autodesk apps and I'm certainly no MS advocate, I must say that this is completely stupid. Neither company should have been required to pay any monies to z4. This is outrageous.

Welcome to 2007. Where kids shoot other kids, pre-teens get pregnant and the entire world has gone to ****.

rpgfan said,

This is why software patents are ridiculous. If I built an app that asked for two passwords/codes before I let users actually use my app, I'd be infringing on their patent. I could write a program to do that right now. Although I don't use Autodesk apps and I'm certainly no MS advocate, I must say that this is completely stupid. Neither company should have been required to pay any monies to z4. This is outrageous.

Welcome to 2007. Where kids shoot other kids, pre-teens get pregnant and the entire world has gone to ****.

Janitor said,
Welcome to 2007. Where kids shoot other kids, pre-teens get pregnant and the entire world has gone to ****.

More like

"Welcome to 2007, where news comment threads on Neowin go straight to hell right on the second post."

internetworld7 said,

Yet another reason to switch to a Mac, Apple unlike Microsoft never loses a patent appeal. :cool:

I wish they made gag balls for keyboard.

I declare ownership of the right to chew more than once. If you chew more than once (ever), start coughing up royalties, or I'll sue you.

It's about time someone does an interview with a representative of the USPTO to hear their view on this... Are they pleased with how it currently works? Would they like to see changes? Is there problems in getting changes to the system through? And so on. There are so obvious problems here that I can hardly believe it's only "others" who see them, but yet, you don't hear a word from them on improving.

The answer to that is CONGRESS, till they get off their asses and pass REAL patent reforms, and not cater to Big Businrss or the *AA's there just might be some hope.

The reality is, most lawsuits against Microsoft are desperate cash grabs from individuals or corporations who have run out of their own ideas to generate money. This is no exception though I am surprised anyone would find this behaviour praise-worthy.

OblivionStalker said,
Stupid thing. Just like the small shop called Google in China that sued Google (the big one) for stealing the name. ******* people are just trying to steal money.

money makes the world go round

if you dont have money, you cant live
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST, but in this case the fittest lost

it's a shame to everyone, because i patented the right to patent (figure that one out.. chicken? or egg??)

so i guess it's time to sue all those who patented things, and to sue the people who sue to uphold patents, as i ultimately own the patents to all things patented.

all that blabber that i just said is almost as ridiculous as this suit, and all the million others out there!

v1be said,
it's a shame to everyone, because i patented the right to patent (figure that one out.. chicken? or egg??)

I do believe that is a cheese omlete, actualy.

And now z4 can sue Abbey for the use of two auth codes in the login screen for the online banking.
Oh, wait, no they can't because a) software patents are illegal here b) no way could you get a patent for having a set number of boxes to fill in c) we'd kill them

maybe not the last one...

if Microsoft pay, they should do it in stages using bags of 1c coins just to serve the money-grubbing tit right.

That is how this country lives. By suing each other. I bet if any of you decided to go big, create softwares like these or any kind of idea as stupid as this and had the opportunity to sue MS you would do it. Even thought most say this is stupid.

I must be old. In my day, people actually worked for a living.

But when you can sue big successful companies with no ground to stand on and still win, why on Earth would you work?

I think I will sue Apple. I don't think they have permission from Mother Nature to use the name "Apple" and they should pay up. Now I just need to find a lawyer who wants a cut... Oh look at that, ten hands went up.

even though this is total BS that a company that ran out of ideas might have worn, i'm trying to contemplate what is going in the future: will MS remove the WGA **** ? I doubt it, maybe they will move to a new 3 step registration instead until they get sued by someone else for infringing their 3 step registration process, and eventually one will have to register before you use MS product(s) every single time.

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