In 2003, Uniloc sued Microsoft for patent infringement, alleging the "product activation system" in Microsoft Office and Windows products infringed its technology, which prevents users from illegally installing software on more than one computer. In 2009, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island awarded Uniloc $388 million in damages, but the judge vacated the award and directed the verdict in Microsoft's favor.
When Uniloc appealed, arguing the trial judge was biased in favor of Microsoft, I didn't think we'd hear much about the case again. But I'm not ashamed to admit I was wrong. Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reinstated the jury verdict after finding substantial evidence to support the determination that infringement did occur. However, the court also ordered a new trial on the issue of damages. According to an Associated Press piece published in The Washington Post, the original award was, in the court's opinion, "fundamentally tainted."
Microsoft VP and Deputy General Counsel David Howard said the new trial should "signal an end of unreasonable and outsized damages awards." But Uniloc's attorney, Paul Hayes, said he is also looking forward to the new trial because a new jury could award an equal or even larger amount.