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Product activiation patent costs Microsoft $140m

Microsoft loses patent appeal, must pay damages

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 $115m from Microsoft and $18m from Autodesk to settle a patent-infringement suit.

The Eastern District of Texas court also awarded $25m 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 - US Patent No. 6,044,471 and US Patent No. 6,785,825. The patents are for product-activation technology aimed at preventing unauthorised 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.


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