Commerce Township Entrepreneur Prevails in Case Against Microsoft for Willful Infringement of Anti-Piracy Software Patents

Friday, November 16, 2007

On Nov. 16, 2007, the United States Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment in favor of z4 Technologies, Inc. of Commerce Township, Michigan against Microsoft Corporation for willful infringement of two patents covering the “Product Activation” feature used in Microsoft`s software to curb piracy.

David S. Colvin is the founder of z4 Technologies and inventor of the patents that were found willfully infringed. The affirmance of the Court of Appeals preserves a jury`s damages award of $115 million that was increased by the trial court by another $25 million to a total of $140 million, for what the trial court deemed “litigation misconduct.”

Mr. Colvin remarked, “This result is very gratifying to all small entrepreneurs and independent inventors in their pursuit of the ‘American Dream.`”

z4 Technologies was represented by Brooks Kushman P.C., a nationally renowned intellectual property law firm based in Southfield, Michigan.

Frank Angileri, a member of the z4 Technologies case team who argued the appeal, commented, “We are very happy for the client, because it is the right result.”

The Brooks Kushman case team was led by (the late) Ernie L. Brooks, and his colleagues Robert Tuttle, Thomas Lewry, Frank Angileri, John Nemazi and John LeRoy.

Robert Tuttle observed, “It`s been a long litigation journey, with a well-deserved result for z4.”

The case was filed in September, 2004, and tried over seven days in April 2006, in Tyler, Texas. The jury declined to accept Microsoft`s evidence in support of its defenses of non-infringement and patent invalidity. The Court of Appeals held the jury was correct in doing so. The appellate court also determined that Microsoft waived on appeal its argument on damages from foreign sales by having failed to raise that argument before the trial court.

Johnny Ward and Joe Kendall served as Texas co-counsel in the case with lead counsel, Brooks Kushman P.C.