By Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
Microsoft is 0 for 2 today with legal skirmishes in other countries. The good news is, they only have to pay $11.9 million to Germany, for an illegal competition fine that stemmed from the company pressing a German retailer to sell Office 2007 software at a certain price. They could have contested the fine, but decided to just pay it instead of undergoing a long legal battle. Which brings us to the bad news…
A jury awarded Singapore-based Uniloc $388 million in a patent suit against Microsoft. In dispute was anti-piracy, security software that had to do with activating Windows XP and Microsoft Office. Microsoft’s claim was that Uniloc’s patent was invalid because it did not cover a new invention. The jury apparently disagreed – though Microsoft has already stated plans to appeal the verdict.
Still, it could have been worse; Uniloc’s lawyer told the jury that Microsoft should pay as much as $600 million, or $2.50 per activation of Windows XP products since 2003.
Given that context, the decision to pay the fine to Germany makes a lot of sense; the patent verdict comes after six years of legal wrangling. Six years of legal fees add up to a lot, and $12 million seems like just a drop in a $400 million bucket.
Running Tally: $399.9 million out of Microsoft’s pockets today. Nice price point!