updated 02:05 pm EST, Thu November 29, 2007
Microsoft vs Z4 Suit
Microsoft will have to pay $140 million in damages after being found culpable of patent infringement for a password system, a judge in a Marshall, Texas court has ruled this week. The software firm's Windows XP operating system and Office 2003 have both allegedly abused patents held by licensing firm Z4 Technologies that address a system which asks the user for two password-like security codes that can be used to both access and deactivate software. Requiring CD keys and activation codes for these programs is a blatant violation, Z4 claims. AutoCAD and Maya creator Autodesk is also liable and will pay $18 million to the court.
Although a serious defeat for both Autodesk and Microsoft, the latter does not see the damages as causing significant damage to its existing business. Neither Windows Vista nor Office 2007 are affected by the patent, says the company's spokesman, David Bowermaster. The Redmond, Washington company also does not believe that it will have to make technical changes to XP or Office 2003 regardless of their part in the patent dispute.