Ric Richardson has won his multi-million-dollar claim against Microsoft.
Ric Richardson has won his multi-million-dollar claim against Microsoft. Cathy Adams

Man wins claim against Microsoft

A US court has reinstated Byron Bay inventor and software whiz Ric Richardson’s $US388 million damages win against Microsoft that was controversially overturned in 2009.

In a David and Goliath-style battle, Mr Richardson’s Singapore-based software company Uniloc originally sued Microsoft in 2003, claiming it had ripped off patented anti-piracy software he designed when working as a sound programmer for major bands like INXS in the 1980s.

The three-judge panel in Washington DC ruled on Tuesday (US time) that the original verdict was supported by "substantial evidence", before also granting Microsoft a new trial on damages stating that the jury’s original award "was tainted by the use of a legally inadequate methodology".

Speaking from his Byron Bay property today, Mr Richardson said this ruling gave Uniloc the chance to "have another bite at the pie" and possibly go for more damages.

The 2009 ruling was the fifth highest patent jury award in US history, although it represented a mere eight days’ profit for the global giant behind the ubiquitous Windows software.

Uniloc argued the software, which is designed to prevent the casual copying of programs onto unauthorised computers, was patented in the 1990s, before Mr Richardson first demonstrated it to Microsoft in 1993 on the condition the software giant would not try to break the code or duplicate it.

Uniloc alleged Microsoft breached this agreement on or around 1997 and began using the anti-piracy technology in its Windows and Office programs.

Throughout the case Microsoft denied this, saying it had deemed Uniloc’s software "of no use" and had developed a different system.



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