Microsoft and Autoddesk must pay US$140M in damages

A US appeals court upholds a district court ruling that Microsoft and Autodesk infringed patents held by z4 Technologies.

A federal appeals court has upheld a district court's ruling that ordered Microsoft and Autodesk to pay millions of dollars to a Michigan company for patent infringement.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit earlier this month affirmed an August 2006 decision by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, which upheld a jury decision in another district court awarding z4 Technologies US$115 million from Microsoft and US$18 million from Autodesk to settle a patent-infringement suit.

The Eastern District of Texas court also awarded US$25 million more from Microsoft to z4 to settle the case, originally filed in September 2004, and denied Microsoft's request for a new trial.

The jury in Texas found that both Microsoft and Autodesk infringed on two patents held by z4 -- U.S. Patent No. 6,044,471 and US Patent No. 6,785,825. The patents are for product-activation technology aimed at preventing unauthorized use or piracy of software.

Z4 Technologies, a private company founded by David Colvin and based in Commerce Township, Michigan, develops digital rights management technology.

None of the companies could be reached for immediate comment Wednesday.

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Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service

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