On Friday, a federal jury fined Microsoft $62.3 million, punishing the company for infringing on a conferencing-technology patent owned by Imagexpo, a subsidiary of manufacturer SPX. The company sued Microsoft in October 2002 for using its patented technology in NetMeeting, which shipped with several Windows versions, and in other software products. The technology lets users in different physical locations remotely access and edit a whiteboard-like editing surface concurrently. Microsoft says it's phasing out NetMeeting so that it can concentrate on its similar Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2003 Web-conferencing service.
A Microsoft spokesperson claimed the company developed its whiteboard software independently of Imagexpo and is deciding whether to appeal the decision. "While we are disappointed with the jury's verdict, we continue to stand firm in our belief that there was no infringement of any kind on the Imagexpo patent and that the technologies in question are indeed different," the spokesperson said. "As an intellectual property company that has invested heavily in research and development, we take patent infringement very seriously and respect the intellectual property rights of others.