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An Australian inventor, who was set to reap the lion's share of a mammoth $US388 million ($445 million) damages award from Microsoft, is now set to get nothing after the US judge hearing the case decided to ignore the jury's decision and hand victory to Microsoft.
Ric Richardson, who divides his time between Northern Rivers in NSW and California, is the founder of Uniloc, which sued Microsoft in 2003 for violating its patent relating to technology designed to deter software piracy.
The company alleged Microsoft earned billions of dollars by using the technology in its Windows XP and Office programs.
In April, a Rhode Island jury found Microsoft had violated the patent and told Microsoft to pay the company $US388 million, one of the largest patent jury awards in US history.
But on Tuesday in the US (today Australian time), US District Judge William Smith "vacated" the jury's verdict and ruled in favour of Microsoft.
An Australian man has been issued with an innovation patent for the wheel after setting out to test the workability of a new national patent system.
John Keogh was issued the innovation patent for a "circular transportation facilitation device" under a patent system introduced in May 2001.
Judge Smith received his bachelor's degree from the Georgetown University in 1982 and his Juris Doctorate cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1987.
He was in private practice in Providence, Rhode Island from 1987 until 2000. From 1993 until 1998, he was also a part-time judge in the town of West Warwick, Rhode Island. Judge Smith was the staff director of the Rhode Island office of U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee from 2000 until 2001. From 2001 to 2002, he returned to private practice in Providence.
From 2001 to 2002, Judge Smith was an adjunct professor at Providence College.
Judge Smith was nominated by President George W. Bush on July 18, 2002, to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island vacated by Ronald R. Lagueux. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 14, 2002, and received his commission on the next day.
Smith was nominated on December 6, 2007 by President George W. Bush to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit vacated by Judge Bruce Marshall Selya, who took senior status on December 31, 2006. Rhode Island's two Democratic senators, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, both of whom had been cut out of Smith's selection by the White House, issued a lukewarm joint response to the nomination: "Before giving someone a lifetime appointment to the federal bench we need to carefully review their record. We will be sure to give Judge Smith’s nomination thorough and independent review." Previously, Whitehouse had suggested in September 2007 that the Senate should not consider any Bush appointment for the First Circuit that late in the president’s term.
Originally posted by defcon5
I quickly skimmed through the Judges reasoning for overturning the ruling, and I would say that he has a good reason to. I have used both shareware unlocking keys, and Microsoft Registration Keys, and they do not operate in the same way. Besides this, I know that Microsoft has been using Registration Keys since at least Windows 95, well before Unilocks Patent. When you install a Microsoft product you receive full functionality, but you only receive updates if you have a Valid Key that matches in their database, that is completely different then Unilocks Key which generates the Key and unlocks the full functionality of the software.
Either way Keys have been in existence for a long time, well before either of these companies used them. AutoCAD had a Key back in the late 80’s, software I used on the Amiga or Commodore Both had unlock keys. Trying to claim that he invented software registration keys in the late 90’s is rather humorous. This might be akin to the Australian guy who recently patented the wheel: