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Thursday, April 20, 2006
Microsoft Loses Anti-Piracy Patent Dispute

Microsoft announced on Wednesday that a Michigan man was awarded $133 million by a Texas jury in a patent dispute against Microsoft and Autodesk.

Microsoft was ordered to pay $115m, and Autodesk was required to pay $18m to David Colvin, the founder of z4 Technologies, who sued the two software companies in federal court, claiming they appropriated two of his anti-piracy software patents with Autodesk's AutoCad programs and Microsoft's Office and Windows XP.

A Microsoft spokesman added in an email response: "While we are disappointed with this verdict, we continue to contend that there was no infringement of any kind and that the facts in this case show that Microsoft developed its own product activation technologies well before z4 Technologies filed for its patent."

The Microsoft spokeswoman said the company was awaiting resolution of all issues by the trial court before making any further decisions regarding its next steps.

She said the court has not yet ruled on Microsoft's contention that z4 knowingly withheld information from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office of other companies' product activation technologies when submitting its patent applications.

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