Microsoft loses another patent suit, must pay $105 million

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Posts: 5,269   +103
Microsoft has suffered another legal blow, yet again for patent infringement. A Texas court on Tuesday ordered the software giant to pay $105.75 million to VirnetX for violating two patents (6,502,135 and 7,188,180) pertaining to VPN technology, which has supposedly been used in products including Windows XP, Vista, Office, and Windows Messenger.

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Posts: 1,519   +552
I guess Microsoft's legacy of building their house using other peoples' bricks, instead of creating their own bricks, is finally starting to sting them...


I swear there really needs to be a patent reform in this day of age. Reading the patents, it's not something so "unique" like a specific code being used, but more like technique and requirements to be met.

Frakking ridiculous.


Posts: 90   +0
I agree I don't like a bit of the stuff MS dose but really, these suits are getting just out right out of hand. If any body actually read the clams and patient's i4i used to sue MS you'd see there 100% BS.

A reform needs to happen there are to many things copyrighted that really just should not be copyrightable. In the current system you could nearly patient the use of BOLD font style and sue every company that includes bold settings for font. that's about how stupid most of the stuff going on today is.


Posts: 3,703   +1,551
I kinda feel for Microsoft. Plus i've been reading into a few of these cases and some Microsoft just didn't really have the evidence to backup their claim but this one they do by the jist of things. You can hate microsoft all you want but for many they have created an amzing OS which was a lot of people's first time using an OS was Windows. I know they're rich and powerful but suing them constantly for "infinging" a patent that is stupidly vague or are invalid is ridiculous! I bet the companies sueing them are using microsoft products for their everyday use anyway!

Plus Microsoft have huge legal teams that make sure their own work gets patented when needed and that they are not treading on anyone elses toes! if this "valid" patent was soo important to the company why not sue them back when XP was lunched? Since they claim that also features the patent infinging software.


Posts: 102   +0
Vrmithrax said:
I guess Microsoft's legacy of building their house using other peoples' bricks, instead of creating their own bricks, is finally starting to sting them...
Says it all.
But picking on the kid who puts the pieces of puzzle together when no else can, is kind of my other half of my thinking here. I do like MS products and preferr them over Mac.


Posts: 3,238   +1,834
Dang...missed out again. I really need to sit down and write up some generic code for MS to use so I can sue them for a brazillion dollars in a year or two. :)


Posts: 604   +67
I'd like to know how they arrived at the $242 million. It seems to me that judges are less concerned about the intent of the law and more concerned about sticking it to the big guys.

I wonder if I could patent "ridiculous patent infringement lawsuits". That way, I could sue for patent infringement those who makes a ridiculous patent infringement lawsuit. I love the irony in that.


Posts: 1,519   +552
wagan8r said:
I'd like to know how they arrived at the $242 million. It seems to me that judges are less concerned about the intent of the law and more concerned about sticking it to the big guys.
In cases like these, it's usually based on sales of the infringing product. So, say they figure a royalty of $2 per copy of Windows Vista, and there's 120 million copies sold domestically... Plus the legal fees, of course... Anyhow, you probably get the picture, and the initial estimates were punitive damages in the BILLIONS, so this is a drop in the bucket. And when you look at the actual pittance MS could have agreed to pay per copy (if they hadn't been just stealing someone else's patented process) it's pretty pathetic. But, it's also not surprising, there's a long track record of exploited victims littering the trail behind Microsoft's bulldozer mentality - they just rarely get caught without enough BS in their arsenal to talk their way out of trouble.

And yah, I know lots of lawsuits these days are frivolous, but this one (and the iQi one) deal with blatant use of a patented and proprietary methodology or code structure, which those infringed-upon companies spent large amounts of time and resources developing. These aren't companies using the ambulance-chaser "throw a patent wall up" tactic like many of the big corporations do in case they can reel in some cash with them later. In the case of VirnetX, if this case fails, so (probably) does the company. It's their bread and butter, and they are being ripped off. Period. The fact that MS, with all its resources, couldn't find relevant prior art to invalidate their patent is very telling...


I find it hard to be too sympathetic for Microsoft. They've done plenty of damage to countless other companies, some just financial and some they callously drove out of business. Microsoft enforces its monopoly status with an iron fist, this self-serving approach is quite stifling to the tech community overall. The rest of the world is zooming past the U.S. in a lot of tech fields, very depressing since we had such a good run at birthing many of them. Between an extremely screwed up patent system and corporate ideology like Microsoft's, our days as a computer tech leader are waning. Sadly, American hubris prevents us from seeing things in a broader perspective.


Posts: 2,050   +14
I must say Microsoft looks like a big giant target for anyone who wants to make money on the courts.


Posts: 124   +0
It's funny to see M$ bite the dust, we all knew they did nothing themselves but this is just hilarious


Posts: 70   +0
Agree with the reform sentiment, in my opinion it brings monopoly to one type of gadget/software/whatever it is about. Let's take for example the legal battle between Google Nexus One and the Iphone (not planning to start a long discussion only pointing to a general concept.) If apple wins, it means no one can create a phone that will look like the iphone, but my main point is where the line is, it is not explicitly drawn, meaning they could fire at someone else product for something they justify.


Posts: 51   +0
not sure if we can blame m$ for this on. there seems to be a patent for everything these days. probably just just pocket change for m$ anyways


Posts: 6,908   +10
Microsoft has such a big squad of a legal staff, and the research people to go with them... It appears that Microsoft has lost many of these confrontations by assuming they would not get caught with the goods.
This is a management problem, and you know who all those managers are if you do any reading at all. I am glad to be rid of their stock, because I think they have a few more lessons to learn.
They do not deserve our pity nor our support for this side of their business.


Posts: 143   +0
Summary: Microsoft needs better lawyers/legal staff or be more smart when making a program with/based "maybe" someone else's product.


Posts: 1,372   +17
I'm also on the side of patent reform, it just doesn't seem logical at all and counter intuitive to innovation. As pointed out by a guest above we seem to invent and lead in many industries and then fall behind because of nonsense like this and big business taking over everything. Microsoft definitely caries fault for some of it as they've done plenty of bad, but if other companies troll after them they are no better.


Posts: 65   +0
Microsoft is one of the worst Copyright Infringers in the world, the amount of lawsuits they face is ridiculous.


Posts: 43   +0
They are just playing cat and mouse game, and thinking that cat will not catch them. They have money, they will pay it without problems.


Posts: 102   +0
i think its a bad time for microsoft!
i think the money they wasted on such things could be utilised to develop more good os and software's!
microsoft - what has gone wrong with you?


Posts: 1,519   +552
The patent process is indeed a mess, for a variety of reasons. Realistically, patents need to be a bit more difficult to get, and actually be verified as valid. These days, blankets of patents are thrown into the system and approved, and many of them are easily invalidated by prior art or existing applications - the problem is, someone has to challenge the patent and prove it in court, which is where all the lawsuits come from. Honestly, the "valid until challenged" mentality is what encourages lawsuits, and makes lawyers a fortune.

There also needs to be revision in the punishment side. Infringing companies who are caught with their hand in the cookie jar regularly just get what is effectively a mild slap on the wrist. Even guilty companies can throw up walls of paper and lawyers that are so thick that it takes too long to reach a conclusion, or the victim whose property was stolen just gives up. Patent punishments and proceedings actually protect the guilty more than they do the ones being infringed upon, which makes it almost an afterthought for corporations... "Another lawsuit? Ah well, so what, carry on." There needs to be a serious ramping up of reparations and penalties, so that guilty parties don't just feel a sting, they get an arm ripped off. Set a few precedents where big bully companies get knocked into the dirt and have their business jeopardized, and people will start to think about consequences... Of course, that will ONLY work if the patent process itself is made more thorough (as I said above) to discourage opportunistic "patent net casting" techniques that are common today.


Posts: 40   +0
i really dont beleive they knowingly, and willingly copied someones else product. This is microsoft, probably around before either of these two companies. They lose these cases because of who, and what they are. SOmething like athletes, and famous entertainers....
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