Microsoft Faces Damages Over NetMeeting Patent

Microsoft faces $62.3 million in damages after a jury's decision that the software giant willfully infringed on a patent held by printing software player Imagexpo, LLC, in its NetMeeting whiteboarding feature.

The lawsuit, brought against Microsoft in Oct. 2002 in federal court in Richmond, Va., stemmed from charges that the company infringed on a patent covering real-time conferencing. The patent is held by Imagexpo, a subsidiary of industrial and flow technology concern SPX Corporation that develops remote softproofing and annotation software for the printing industry.

That software centers around a tool that enables multi-person conferences for the purpose of reviewing and editing prepress images. In its lawsuit, Imagexpo claimed that the whiteboarding feature in Windows NetMeeting infringed on the patent protecting that tool.

Microsoft spokespeople maintained the company had independently developed the technology underlying NetMeeting, a chat and collaboration tool that has been a part of Microsoft Windows for years.

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