Microsoft to pay SPX US$60 million in patent suit

Microsoft Corp. will pay US$60 million for violating a patent held by a division of SPX Corp., a Charlotte, N.C.-based manufacturing and technology company, SPX said in a statement released last week.

On Nov. 14, a jury awarded SPX’s Imagexpo LLC subsidiary US$62.3 million in damages, after finding that Microsoft had willfully infringed a technology patent held by Imagexpo.

Microsoft infringed on the patent with the Whiteboard feature of its NetMeeting conferencing software, SPX said.

After the November ruling, it was unclear whether Microsoft, which denied any patent infringement had occurred, would appeal the jury’s decision, but Wednesday’s settlement resolves the matter, said Stacy Drake, a Microsoft spokesperson.

As part of the settlement, Microsoft has now licensed the Imagexpo technology, Drake said.

What the software giant plans to do with the licenses is unclear, however. Microsoft has now retired NetMeeting, and Drake could not say whether the Imagexpo technology would be used in Microsoft’s current conferencing offering, Office Live Meeting, which was formerly known as PlaceWare.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., will pay the US$60 million by Dec. 30, SBX said.

SBX could not be reached for comment.

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