MS ordered to pay US$62m in patent suit

MS ordered to pay US$62m in patent suit

A jury has ordered Microsoft to pay $US62.3 million in damages for infringing on a technology patent held by a division of manufacturing and technology company, SPX.

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.

The jury awarded Imagexpo $62.3 million in compensatory damages and found that Microsoft (MS) wilfully infringed the patent, the company said.

The court had yet to rule on other aspects of the case that could affect the final outcome, SPX said.

"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 spokeswoman, Stacy Drake, said.

The Imagexpo and Microsoft technologies in question were "quite different", she said.

Drake added that certain aspects of Microsoft's defence in the case had yet to be ruled upon.

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

MS 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 website states.

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

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