Microsoft Settles Patent Suit

   Microsoft recently announced that it has agreed to settle a patent infringement suit for $60 million with SPX after a US District Court jury awarded SPX $62.3 million in damages. Charlotte, North Carolina-based SPX's Imagexpo unit makes whiteboarding software. The company garnered a patent covering this "method and apparatus for interactive computer conferencing." Imagexpo sued Microsoft, claiming that Microsoft NetMeeting, the video conferencing software in Windows XP and earlier, infringed on Imagexpo's patent. The two companies began negotiating a settlement in the time between the damages award and the final motions in the case. The settlement obviates the damages award.
   "This settlement is another step in Microsoft's efforts to resolve legal conflicts, to focus on the future, and to continue building great software," a Microsoft spokesperson said Friday. Under terms of the deal, Microsoft must submit the $60 million payment to SPX by tomorrow.
   Imagexpo originally sued Microsoft in October 2002 in a US District Court in Virginia. Imagexpo makes next-generation remote proofing and annotation software for graphic arts professionals, according to the company, so that they can replace hardcopy image proofs with digital versions that can be reviewed and approved more quickly. The software Microsoft infringed on is an interactive conferencing feature that lets two or more people remotely share and annotate two digital proofs.

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