Inventor Ric Richardson

Showing posts with label Uniloc vs. Microsoft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Uniloc vs. Microsoft. Show all posts

The latest on Uniloc vs Microsoft

In case you have lost track of where the case between Uniloc and Microsoft is at these days here is the latest:

  • We won the appeal that reversed the judges decision to ignore the Jury's $388 million win in 2009.
  • But the appeal judges made us go back to court to review the settlement amount.
  • Uniloc tried to have the appeal judges consider just letting us go with the original $388 but they were persistent. Note this does not mean a LOWER figure... just a figure based on a calculation that does not use the 25% rule... a bit confusing.
  • Uniloc is waiting to hear when it will have a court date to go after a damages amount, but this time we do it with the courts ruling that Microsoft IS GUILTY.
So there it is... that's the latest

Note: The 25% rule has been used a lot to determine what percentage of the product should be paid in damages if someone uses a patented technology illegally.

In the Wall Street Journal again

image
Over the weekend Julia Angwin’s (Senior Technical Editor) counterpart talked to me about the appeal result… quite rightly she focussed on the real issue. Guilt.

It seems the technical workings of the damages calculation machine has overshadowed the most important thing. Next after this is making sure the fair thing happens.

The fact that Microsoft in their own documents say that they made $5.5 billion from Activation should go a long way to making sure justice prevails… if someone uses another persons idea illegally then they ought to be made to recognise that they can not profit from doing so… that’s the fair thing.

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2011/01/11/inventor-says-microsoft-patent-ruling-is-beautiful/?mod=rss_WSJBlog&mod=

More news from the states regarding Uniloc

I can now talk about it because Uniloc’s CEO just announced that the total companies Uniloc has sued besides Microsoft has gone up to 60 now with 20 companies taking a license with the company.

“The company, with U.S. offices in Irvine, California, has sued 60 companies and reached licensing agreements with more than 20”, Chief Executive Officer Brad Davis said in a telephone interview.

Uniloc vs Microsoft Appeal Hearing completed

Last week the Appeal Court in the US had it’s hearing for arguments from Uniloc and Microsoft regarding the appeal against Judge Smith’s reversal of the jury verdict in favour of Uniloc.

The panel of three judges asked a wide range of questions ranging from the technicality of the subject matter to justifying the settlement figure.

For those of you following the case closely you can listen to a recording of the case online at:

http://oralarguments.cafc.uscourts.gov/Audiomp3/2010-1035.mp3

The appeal court judges final decision can take weeks or months so I have no idea how long the wait will be at this stage.

Thankyou for all the support

4,000 visitors in one day from the Sydney Morning Herald article. Again I feel privileged that the Uniloc story and our fight has been of so much interest. To me its just stuff that has to be done, but it is so great to have the support of everyday people.

Thank you.

A small but vocal few persisted in touting their contrary opinion which is fine but mislead. The fact that Asher Moses reported an inflammatory comment by a local lawyer may be necessary to be seen as neutral reporting, but his position that there may be doubts about the integrity of our patent claim are truly unfounded.

For the record:

  • Patent trolls do not spend 18 years building business that they are only trying to defend.
  • We only took action after it was blatantly published by Microsoft exactly what they were doing.
  • If we were patent trolls, do you think we would go after the biggest software company in the world by choice?
  • If we were only in it for a quick buck, why would we pick the most expensive case to fight first?

Come on.

Sydney Morning Herald Article Today

image

After speaking to Asher Moses from the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday, he reported on the new Uniloc suits on the SMH.COM.AU website today.

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/van-man-1-microsoft-0-now-aussie-rics-gunning-for-more-tech-giants-20100805-11ihy.html

It's amazing that everyone is so supportive of what Uniloc (and I...) are trying to do. Even though there are a handful of ridiculous murmurs calling Uniloc a patent troll in the US, everyone seems to understand that you can't lay claim to a patent and then walk away from it as soon as things get a bit hard.

Here are some of the quotes I gave to Asher:

“What many people don’t realize is that the validity of the Uniloc patent was not being questioned by the court. In fact it’s validity was maintained  even under the test of all of Microsoft’s legal resources. The judges decision simply showed that he agreed with Microsoft that the method used by them for Activation is different to the method described in the 216 patent. It’s there in the decision for all to see.”

“The fact is that the patent withstood a firestorm of scrutiny has given me the confidence to support Uniloc as it goes about protecting its patent rights that I assigned to the company shortly after it was invented.”

“Even though the list of new companies being sued have been carefully researched and evaluated over the years, I am sure Uniloc is using the same approach we used in evaluating Microsoft’s Activation system while I was day-to-day at the company.”

“I am the inventor of the 216 patent, but Uniloc Singapore (a wholly owned subsidiary of Uniloc Corporation here in Australia is the assignee of the US patent. The Australian and New Zealand patents for the same invention are owned directly by the Australian parent company.”

“As I said on ABC’s Australian Story, you can’t decide to patent your invention and then let it flap in the wind. You have to stand by your decision.”

“When you invent something it’s really hard to believe that no one else in the world has thought of your idea. You spend a year then two, then five waiting for someone to pop up who was doing it better before you, but that never happened.”

“Uniloc is a serious company with lots of employees, lots of talent and only a fraction are working on the patent protection side. It’s not a focus in terms of manpower but it is something we have to do.”

Re the Microsoft case:

“My personal opinion is that Microsoft is a big company and their fighting Uniloc every step of the way from initial suit even to the Supreme Court makes sense for them financially if it can lessen the likelihood of paying out the large sums being contested. What is ten or fifteen million dollars in legal fees when hundreds of millions are at stake?”

“I haven’t researched how many times Microsoft has said “oops sorry we infringed your patent… here is the royalty you asked for” but I doubt it has happened to many times.”

Not to be picky but there are a few things in the article needing clarification:
  • It was reported that I list 140 inventions on my site.... actually its projects and inventions.Some of these were not what I would consider an invention including the Shadesavers I worked on with my brother... it was a novel idea but I don't think qualified as an invention.
  • Also the Collaboration for eBay is quoted as having applications in the Lottery and gambling space. For the record I personally do not agree with or want to support gambling in any way. However, the article quite rightly reports that the invention could be used for that purpose though if I was implementing it would never use it that way.
Nuff said.
Ric

Uniloc is now enforcing its patent rights with others besides Microsoft.

As I am not on the board at Uniloc and not privy to a lot of non public information about the company, I learned along with a lot of you that Uniloc has gone to court with another group of large software publishers including Sony and McAfee.

Even though I spent most of my time preparing for the Microsoft case before I left Uniloc to become a full-time inventor, I knew this kind of thing was on the cards and really what else can Uniloc do?

As I said in ABC’s Australian Story, you cant decide to file a patent and then just let it flap in the wind. It’s a gutsy thing for the guys at Uniloc to do and I fully support them.

Yes, I am a shareholder, and yes there is money involved in winning these cases but there is also a financial return in reclaiming money stolen from a bank. It’s not a way to make a quick buck, its just a way to get justice when someone just takes something that isn’t theirs and is forced to pay you for what they took.

Uniloc vs Microsoft

Disclaimer: The following is gathered from public information and does not represent the personal opinion of Mr Ric Richardson. The information supplied is not a legal statement but simply a layman's summary of what has happened in the case in basic terms.
In 2003 Ric Richardson became aware of a possible infringement of the 216 patent by certain Microsoft products. Shortly after this Ric started working with Uniloc management and the firm of Mintz Levin to protect Uniloc's patent rights.

Latest news - current status
25th Feb 2010: At this time Ric is not aware of a date for the appeal however he is informed that Uniloc and Mintz Levin are steadily working towards securing an appeal court date.

The suit
At some time in 2003 Ric Richardson started noticing references to the way Microsoft's Software Activation Technology worked in web page references that related to large corporations that wanted to verify what information was and was not collected during the activation process. In Ric's mind this amounted to reasonable suspicion that Microsoft may be infringing his 216 patent. After that time Ric with the support of his team at Uniloc started working with legal representation to secure representation and file a suit.

Summary Judgement
After some years of preparation and exhaustive discovery Uniloc filed with the court to have their case heard. The judge, who was the judge who heard the eventual case in court decided to deliver summary judgement in favour of Microsoft citing that Uniloc did not have evidence to warrant taking Microsoft to court.
Appeal and reversal of Summary Judgement

As a result of the decision Uniloc appealed the decision and had the matter heard by the appeals court. Uniloc made two requests of the appeal court. Firstly to have the summary judgement reversed and that the judge be recused meaning that we requested that another judge be used to try the case.  The appeal court subsequently overruled the judge and reversed his decision citing that there was material fact submitted in our discovery that warranted a jury trial. However the decision to recuse the judge was not upheld and the same judge who had erroneously given Microsoft summary judgment was to try the case in court. Uniloc submitted in its appeal that the use of a summer intern that had worked at Microsoft may have affected the judges decision in his role as a technical adviser to the judge.

The court case and the Jury Verdict
After some weeks at trial a jury subsequently awarded Uniloc $388 million dollars excluding damages or interest. The jury also decided that the patent infringement was intentional. Under US law it is the judge that determines the damages and level of interest to be paid by the defendant.

The Judges Decision
After some months, the judge made the unusual decision to invoke his special privileges under the US law and reverse the jury verdict giving the case to Microsoft citing the reason that there was not valid evidentiary reason for the jury to reach their decision or for Uniloc to have won the case.

The Appeal
Uniloc fairly quickly decided to appeal this decision and are actively working with the court to secure an appeal court date.

Judge reverses Jury decision in Uniloc MS case

At the moment I am waiting my turn to talk to the Uniloc lawyers, but the news is disappointing.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald:

"But on Tuesday in the US (today Australian time), US District Judge William Smith "vacated" the jury's verdict and ruled in favour of Microsoft."

The full article can be read here and a listing of all the articles on Google News can be viewed here.

Uniloc appeal successful

Uniloc, a company I started in 1992 has won its appeal against Microsoft. The suit is over activation technology used in their two big products, Windows and Office amongst others. The picture is a screen grab of a bloomberg article that appeared shortly after the decision.

$1.5 billion case lost by Microsoft

Microsoft lost a case for $1.5 billion in damages for ignoring patent ownership in the case of MP3 (an almost free audio compression technology). Makes me wonder what the damages should be for a technology that is worth up to a quarter of all their sales?
clipped from yro.slashdot.org
"A U.S. federal jury found that Microsoft Corp. href="http://www.cioinsight.com/article2/0,1540,2097780,00.asp">infringed audio
patents held by Alcatel-Lucent
and should pay $1.52 billion in damages,
Microsoft said Thursday. The news comes after reports that U.S. Supreme Court
justices expressed doubts about whether Microsoft Corp. href="http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2097387,00.asp">should be liable for
infringing AT&T Inc. patents
in Windows software sold overseas."
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