Microsoft Beaten In Patent Infringement Case
A California jury sides with a Guatemalan developer’s case and awards him a $9 million judgment.
As reported in May, Carlos Amado filed suit in 2003 against Microsoft. He contended the patent on technology linking Excel spreadsheets to data in Access databases belonged to him.
Mr. Amado developed the link technology in 1990 while a graduate student at Stanford. He received the patent in 1994. Two years later, he attempted to sell that patent to Microsoft, which declined to buy.
A lawsuit was filed in due course. Mr. Amado claimed $500 million in damages. Microsoft disagreed. “While today’s verdict is disappointing, we are pleased that the jury rejected Mr. Amado’s large damage claims,” Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake said.
She said it was too early to tell whether Microsoft would appeal the verdict.
Microsoft contended it had begun parallel work on the technology in 1989, pre-dating Mr. Amado’s patent. The technology first appeared in 1995 in Microsoft Office. But the jury was not convinced.
“This is a great day to finally get the validation that my invention has value,” Mr Amado said in a statement released by his lawyers. “I am pleased that Microsoft has been forced to recognise this innovation as a useful and unique application that benefits their millions of users.”
The nearly $9 million judgment accounts for sales of Office between March 1997 and July 2003. Judge David Carter will make a further determination based on sales since that time.
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.