June 16, 2006 3:11 PM PDT

Microsoft loses appeal in Office patent spat

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Patent spat forces businesses to upgrade Office

January 30, 2006
A U.S. appeals court has upheld a ruling that Microsoft's Office software infringes on a Guatemalan inventor's technology, lawyers for the inventor said Friday.

Morrison & Foerster said that on Wednesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington affirmed a verdict that Microsoft's Office software infringed on a patent held by Carlos Armando Amado. In June 2005, an Orange County, Calif., jury awarded Amado $6.1 million, ruling that Microsoft's method of linking its Access database and Excel spreadsheet infringed on Amado's technology.

"This ruling signals the validity of the patent and confirms Microsoft's liability of infringement on Mr. Amado's software program," Vince Belusko, a Morrison & Foerster partner, said in a statement. A Microsoft representative did not immediately have a comment.

Both sides had appealed the original verdict, with the court rejecting both appeals. The appeals court said it would let the lower court decide how much, if any, of escrow funds should go to Amado.

"When the district court makes that determination, any party believing itself aggrieved by that order may appeal to this court," the court said in its ruling.

Morrison & Foerster said it is hoping that the federal court will award Amado further damages for continuing infringement, out of an escrow account that now has more than $65 million in it.

"We are hopeful that the District Court will now award Mr. Amado substantial monies from that escrow account when the matter is returned to the court."

Since the jury verdict last year, Microsoft has altered Office, alerting businesses back in January that they will need to upgrade to the modified version.

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16 comments

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Wow. There is a GOD.
Case in point. Microsoft isn't the self proclaimed innovation
machine it claims to be. This article just proves it.

Oh happy day!!!
Posted by ServedUp (413 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Seems like an intuitive thing to have a patent on
Seems a patent on a flat file table is pretty weak. Didn't Boyce and Codd 1up that in the 70's?
Posted by stopher2475 (21 comments )
Link Flag
This saddens me
Seeing responces like these really irk me.

The sad thing is software patents are abused more and more in the past few years. People patent things that almost anyone would come up with, and sit on it until they can make big bucks sueing the first poor souls who dare unknowingly use it.

Microsoft violated "Amado's technology" by linking two database systems together? That's really absurd, I know a few program's I've written in the past must have violated their "technology"(read: patent squatting) many times in the past.

I know it's cool and it's hip to beat down on Microsoft, but I can see this happening to anyone. When a patent system can award a patent to a five year old for a "method of swinging side to side", we know something is wrong.
Posted by flimflambeta (6 comments )
Link Flag
Sad...
Seeing responces like these really irk me.

The sad thing is software patents are abused more and more in the past few years. People patent things that almost anyone would come up with, and sit on it until they can make big bucks sueing the first poor souls who dare unknowingly use it.

Microsoft violated "Amado's technology" by linking two database systems together? That's really absurd, I know a few program's I've written in the past must have violated their "technology"(read: patent squatting) many times in the past.

I know it's cool and it's hip to beat down on Microsoft, but I can see this happening to anyone. When a patent system can award a patent to a five year old for a "method of swinging side to side", we know something is wrong.
Posted by flimflambeta (6 comments )
Link Flag
dumb judge
The weird thing is a judge who gets paid to make rulings is too stupid to understand that the patent is trivial and just a meal ticket for cheap assed lawyers
Posted by mpotter28 (130 comments )
Link Flag
dumb judge
The weird thing is a judge who gets paid to make rulings is too stupid to understand that the patent is trivial and just a meal ticket for cheap assed lawyers
Posted by mpotter28 (130 comments )
Link Flag
where???
Where the second commentary????
Posted by scoobbs (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Court doesn't decide patent validity
"This ruling signals the validity of the patent..."
No it doesn't. The problem is that the patent system really stinks. But it's not up to a judge or jury to decide if a patent is valid or not.

The procecution provides evidence that says "Company X owns the patent for doing Y. Company Z is doing Y, and therefore is in infringement." A jury or judge may think it's the dumbest patent in the world, but for the most part have to agree with the statement. I blame the patent office.
Posted by Chibi-Acer (10 comments )
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Certainly it can
If a patent is being litigated in Court, the Court can definitely decide on the validity of the patent.
Posted by Musmanno (101 comments )
Link Flag
Flavoring Fountain Valley is adhering to anarchy; really come together.
it's no wonder why there is another ten years before individual justice and soy beans. i'm latent to the means of pinto beans on the AMEX: "Show me the money!"
Posted by Stalin Hornsby (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
HAHAHAHAAHA
Microsoft can't link its own products together ACCESS and EXCEL without violating someone else's patent..

HAHAHAHAHAAH
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
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