Microsoft Loses Patent Suit

A jury has ordered Microsoft to pay $62.3 million in damages for infringing on a patent held by manufacturing and technology company SPX, the companies said Friday.

SPX said its Imagexpo subsidiary sued Microsoft in October last year for infringing on its patent with a feature of Microsoft's NetMeeting conferencing product. The patent related to real-time conferencing, SPX said in a statement.

The jury awarded Imagexpo $62.3 million in compensatory damages and found that Microsoft willfully infringed the patent, the company said. The court has yet to rule on other aspects of the case that could affect the final outcome, SPX said.

Standing Firm

"We are disappointed in the jury's verdict and we continue to stand firm in our belief that there is no infringement of any kind on the patent," Microsoft spokesperson Stacy Drake said. She added that the Imagexpo and Microsoft technologies in question are "quite different."

She also said that certain aspects of Microsoft's defense in the case have yet to be ruled upon.

Microsoft can appeal the outcome of the case, SPX said.

Key Feature

Microsoft infringed on the patent in a feature of its NetMeeting product called Whiteboard, SPX said. Microsoft stopped offering the Whiteboard feature in version 3 of NetMeeting, according to information on its Web site.

"Previous versions of NetMeeting included Whiteboard functionality. We regret that we are no longer able to offer Whiteboard in this version of NetMeeting," the Web site states.

Drake said Friday that the lawsuit had "no bearing" on Microsoft's decision to stop offering the feature.

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