Microsoft to pay US$9 million in patent case

A jury on Monday awarded US$8.96 million [m] to a Guatemalan inventor who sued Microsoft for patent infringement.

A jury on Monday awarded US$8.96 million to a Guatemalan inventor who sued Microsoft for patent infringement.

The inventor, Carlos Amado, had alleged that the company infringed his patent on software for linking Microsoft's Excel and Access applications through a single spreadsheet, Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake confirmed on Tuesday.

Amado filed for a patent on the technology in 1990 and approached Microsoft with it in 1992, said Amado's attorney, Vincent Belusko of Morrison & Foerster. The first infringing versions of the software appeared in 1995, Belusko said. Amado had sought about US$400 million in the case, filed in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California.

The verdict on Monday covered damages up until July 31, 2003, he said. The court now has to consider damages from August 2003 to the present, but the additional amount will probably be less than what has already been awarded, according to Belusko.

"He wanted to be validated that this was his idea, that someone took it. I think he feels validated," Belusko said.

Microsoft is reviewing the verdict and other matters related to the case and considering its next move, Drake said.

"Microsoft began developing this technology as early as 1989. It was developed by our own engineers based on our own pre-existing technology," Drake said.

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