Microsoft The Pirate
Microsoft — the corporate bully constantly alleging patent infringement against everyone else on the block — has been caught with their hand in the patent cookie jar.
In 2004, z4 — a technology company that owns patents for an anti-piracy method to activate and deactivate software — sued Microsoft and Autodesk for infringing on those patents. The two companies were found guilty and ordered to pay almost $160 million in damages. Never content to admit their illegal activities, Microsoft appealed the decision. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit smacked them down on November 16th.
Neither company has yet stated whether they plan to appeal further. The decision brings a certain amount of irony, as Microsoft is well known for claiming that other software — including the Linux operating system — infringes on their patents, though they have failed to provide any evidence of the claims or identify the infringed patents.
Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.