Network-1 and Microsoft Reach Agreement
Over Patent Lawsuit

IP News and Information

Companies large and small develop new technologies and innovations every day. Many of these companies file for patents to protect their innovations. While smaller companies might only have one or two patents on file, most larger companies, especially in the tech industry, file for dozens, if not hundreds, of patents every year. Patent ownership and patent protection are extremely important to these companies, as is patent monetization. On the other end of the spectrum, small companies also rely on the value of their usually much smaller IP portfolios to help give their businesses a boost and keep them afloat. Somewhere in between, there are other entities, which many consider to be businesses by name only.

Companies Agree to Settle

One such company is Network -1, which has been accused of being a patent troll. However, regardless of whether or not you consider Network-1 a troll or just a company that fiercely protects its patents, the company recently received a favorable outcome in a big case involving software giant Microsoft. According to the company, Microsoft had been infringing Network-1’s U.S. patent titled “Document Stream Operating System.” Several Microsoft partners were also in on the lawsuit, including some big names, like Dell, Lenovo, Samsung and HP to name a few. In order to end the lawsuit and avoid a trial Microsoft has agreed to settle the suit with Network-1 to the tune of $4.65 million for the license to use the patent.

Microsoft Receives a License

As part of the agreement, Microsoft will receive a fully paid license that will cover the software giant’s products. The license, which expires in 2016, will also protect all Microsoft customers. With the settlement agreement now in place, the claims against Microsoft and its partners will all be dismissed with prejudice. However, while Microsoft has chosen to settle its litigation issues with Network-1, one of the company’s top rivals is still facing similar claims from the company.

Network-1 Still Going After Apple

According to a press release from Network-1, its pending litigation for patent infringement against Apple is still on schedule to be heard in June of next year. The lawsuit against Apple is also regarding the “Document Stream Operating System” patent, also known as the “227 Patent.” Apple reportedly argued that the case should be barred, but a judge did not agree with the company, instead denying Apple’s motion without prejudice that the “227 Patent” is invalid under 35 U.S.C. 101. Newtwork-1 claims that Apple has infringed the patent and that it continues infringing the patent by making, selling and using its claims in its Mac OS operating system and Mac computers. The main feature in question appears to be Apple’s Spotlight tool.

Network-1 and Apple Have a History

This is not the first time that Network-1 has gone after Apple, as the company claims Apple’s infringement goes all the way back to 2010. Apple was originally ordered to pay $280 million in damages, but that ruling was later vacated and was submitted to be re-examined, where it was eventually overruled. It remains to be seen how this battle goes next June if the companies can’t, or don’t want to, reach a settlement before then.