Microsoft was hit with a $388 million patent infringement fine yesterday, following a lengthy legal brawl that dates back to 2003 with security software vendor Uniloc. The patent in question was for an anti-piracy solution that prevents the creation, distribution and use of unauthorized copies of software – which Microsoft allegedly infringed with its software activation methods.

The decision is a reversal of an earlier judgment in which the courts originally favored the software giant, with Uniloc appealing their losing verdict on the argument that a key expert witness used by Microsoft had a conflict of interest in giving his testimony. The appeal was granted and Uniloc won this second trial in court. The damages awarded are one of the largest on record in legal disputes involving patents. However, it might take a while before Uniloc actually sees any of that money, as Microsoft has announced its intention to appeal.