We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Judge says Microsoft has infringed image patents

Software co must defend its actions

A federal judge has found that Microsoft has encroached upon patents held by Research Corporation Technologies for a process that improves the quality of images displayed on computer screens and paper printouts.

RCT sued Microsoft on 21 December 01. It charged that the software giant used technology covered by its patents in the Windows operating system as well as Office applications, said Brian Ferguson, an attorney with McDermott, Will & Emery who represents RCT.

A senior US judge yesterday granted a motion for summary judgement brought by RCT, ruling that the company has proved four patent claims while Microsoft failed to offer sufficient counter-evidence.

Microsoft must defend itself in front of a jury, according to a copy of the judge's order.

"The judge has determined that Microsoft is guilty of patent infringement and that the technology is used in some of Microsoft's biggest products," Ferguson said.

The case will now continue to trial, where a jury will hear evidence and determine the extent of the patent infringements and the resulting damages to RCT. The potential damages could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Ferguson said.

RCT helps universities and startups develop technologies. It then patents those technologies and attempts to license them. This case involves patents related to technology used to create halftones, which was developed at the University of Rochester in New York. Halftones are used to display images such as photographs on computer displays and to print them.

RCT has already settled cases over the same patents with HP and Lexmark; along with Seiko Epson, these companies now licence the technology from RCT.

Microsoft is disappointed in the ruling and will continue to fight. Company spokesman Jim Desler said: "We believe that there was no infringement and the technology in question was developed by Microsoft. We also contend that the RCT patents are not valid and look forward to the opportunity to present evidence on this point," he said.

No trial date has been set, but both antagonists expect a jury trial at the end of this year or early next.

IDG UK Sites

Acer Aspire R11 review: Hands-on with the 360 laptop and tablet convertible

IDG UK Sites

Apple Watch release day: Twitter reacts

IDG UK Sites

See how Framestore created a shape-shifting, oil and metal based creature for Shell

IDG UK Sites

Apple Watch buying guide, price list & where to buy today: Which Apple Watch model, size, material,?......