back to article Judge tosses out patent infringement verdict against Microsoft

Microsoft has won an appeal against a $388m patent infringement jury verdict meted out to the company in April, following a lawsuit brought by anti-piracy software maker Uniloc. The long-running legal spat was originally brought by Uniloc USA and its Singapore-based parent company in 2003, with the firm alleging Microsoft had …


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  1. Hugh_Pym

    What !!!!!!!!!

    So the jury delivers it's guilty verdict and a judge says 'No you where wrong, the actual verdict is - not guilty'. What was the point of the jury and the expensive trial. If the judge knows best why not just ask him in the first place?

  2. Chris Miller

    What's the point?

    @Hugh - To generate more revenue for lawyers, of course. What did you think, that the law had something to do with justice?

  3. ThomH Silver badge


    So your argument is that decisions shouldn't be open to appeal? Or is it that appeal courts shouldn't be able to overturn earlier rulings? Or perhaps you're arguing that courts shouldn't have a hierarchy, hence the "higher courts set precedents for lower courts" stuff on which the legal system seems to have done pretty well for almost 1,000 years should be thrown out?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    @Hugh Pym

    Your average bod on the street is most unlikely to fully understand the complexities of a patent infringement case. Just because the Jury reached a verdict, doesn't automatically it is the correct one.

    There has for a long time been a sugestion for the use of "professional jurors" in cases such as these.

  5. An ominous cow herd

    @Hugh Pym

    1. It was on appeal, so it was'nt a case of judge overruling jury, but higher ranked judge overrulink lower court's decision;

    2. Yes, yes, we all know that juror's thinking is flawless, don't we all... In civil cases, were understading of contractual law is crucial, I have no idea why anyone would want a trial by jury (unless they know that's their only chance of winning).

  6. Kwac

    judge says

    "Bloody juries are too stupid to understand. But I'm very clever and know much more than them".

  7. The Original Ash


    "the jury 'lacked a grasp of the issues before it and reached a finding without a legally sufficient basis'."

    So, Gary McKinnon will be found not guilty too, then.

  8. Kurashima

    Gary McKinnon

    Gary McKinnon , unfortunately , will be going down quicker than Virgin Broadband in a thunderstorm. Theres no chance on this earth of him getting a fair trial, or avoiding a conviction if extradited.

    Just to check, was the original verdict rendered in the Eastern District of Texas by any chance?

  9. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    Hate the sinner, love the sin...

    It pains me to side with MS, but in this case they were dead right. I recall the original case and I recall wondering how the jury reached the verdict they did. The judge is right. Furthermore the patent should be revoked, it's nonsense.

    However far too many patents that are granted these days seem to be invalid. It seems that the system now works on the principal of granting patents and then reviewing them later. More money for the patent lawyers I suppose.

    Those who doubt this should read a few recent patents granted in an area they have some expertise. You'd be amazed how often you will be able to spot failings.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SOS, DD for Microsucks

    As previously noted, Microsucks is fully capable of buying all the justice that they desire in America inspite of their convictions.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Impeach and convict the Judge

    Judge Smith should be impeached and removed for failing to impanel a jury that COULD understand the issues.

  12. Wallyb132

    @@Hugh Pym

    Maybe, just a thought, but, maybe before all you people start jumping down Hugh Pym's throat, maybe you could actually educate yourselves on what it is youre talking about. Hugh Pym had it right in his comment, it was the actual trial judge, not an appeals judge, but the one that sat over the trial that made this ruling

  13. Anonymous Coward


    Uh, first five words of the article, dude.

    "Microsoft has won an appeal"

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He who has the gold makes the rules

    "Justice" is available to the highest bidder in the U.S.

  15. felixleiter

    Article lacks some details

    Just maybe it might have been useful to include the information that this was the original Judge who found Microsoft not guilty of infringement before trial. A higher court decided on appeal that he was wrong to do so, and it should have gone to a jury trial. He presides over said trial and then after the Jury finds Microsoft guilty, but the Judge sets aside verdict and finds Microsoft not guilty again.

    Whether you think the jury verdict was wrong or not, there are some serious issues about who should and shouldn't be setting aside jury verdicts in a case where the Judge had already found in favour of 1 side or the other pre trial.

  16. Stef 1

    @ Grease Monkey

    "However far too many patents that are granted these days seem to be invalid. It seems that the system now works on the principal of granting patents and then reviewing them later. More money for the patent lawyers I suppose."

    Half-correct on the factual observation, incorrect about the deduction: standards of many Patent Offices have tended to slip slipped because of overwork/application overload, and are now being addressed (now that Patent Offices can breathe again, since everybody and their dog has run out of cash to file applications).

    'More dubious' applications are being routinely dismissed (especially in the software/IT field) in the shortest-possible sumary manner (US/EP/UK), and have been for a while.

    'Less dubious' applications are granted quick to let the applicant and his competitor(s) sort out validity in pre- or post-grant review/opposition proceedings.

    All in the name of "clearing the backlog".

    The Patent Offices are driving the facts behind your observation, not IP professionals, who are caught in the cross-fire as it happens: how do you advise clients reliably about procedures measured in years, when these days Patent Offices change the proverbial yardstick (examination guidelines based on case law) every other month?

    Mine's the one with the Article 56 rejection, because the business person told the programmer how to implement everything.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    @@Hugh Pym

    The comments are valid. What IS the point in having trial by jury if a judge can later overrule and say they didn't understand the law. That's the point of juries. They're not expected to know the law. Having been on a jury before It's the job of the legal teams to prove a case either way. Whichever way the jury goes depends on the quality or the evidence and the skill of the lawyers. Personally i couldn't give a crap what MS has/hasn't done. What's troubling is that ONE judge can overrule just on the basis of his/her understanding the law themselves. What if they get it wrong and the jury was right? At least in the UK, appeals are heard by a panel of judges. That way judges with a single mindset are unlikely to dominate an appeal.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 13:48

    Err... What about a hypothetical racist jury, who found the defentant in a trial guilty, because he was back. It has happened. Should a more senior judge not be able to say that these guys didn't understand the law/they are racists so the verdict is null and void?

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