Judge ignores Jury to hand Microsoft victory

It seems that Microsoft is nearly always in court for one reason or another. But this time something has gone their way. Following a Rhode Island jury's decision in April that Microsoft violated software company Uniloc's patent relating to software piracy deterrence, US District Judge William Smith has overturned the jury's verdict in favour of Microsoft.

Judge Smith stated the jury "lacked a grasp of the issues before it and reached a finding without a legally sufficient basis" and as such saw no other alternative than to override their decision.

This means that Microsoft will no longer need to pay Uniloc the $US388m awarded to it only six months ago.

Uniloc's founder, Ric Richardson, is shocked by the Judge's decision to vacate the jury, claiming that the case was always about the ethics of the situation and never the money. He has refused to comment further until seeking legal advice.

Uniloc claims it conceived the idea for its patented technology with inspiration from Richardson's previous work in the music industry, which required specialist software at great expense that could not be trialled before being purchased. Uniloc's patent covers a registration technique for software that allows programmers to create trial software versions of their packages, which, should the user like, can be unlocked in full with a registration key.

During the case, Uniloc claimed that it demonstrated its technology to Microsoft in 1993 although at that time Microsoft chose not to licence it. Microsoft claims its system is based on entirely different technology.

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