updated 05:15 am EDT, Thu March 15, 2012
Microsoft reaches nine digit deal with Uniloc
Microsoft has reached a settlement with Uniloc over its use of software activation that is rumored to be in excess of $100 million. An Australian inventor and co-founder of Uniloc, Ric Richardson, developed the patent for the software activation technology used in popular Microsoft products such as Office. After initially winning $388 million lawsuit against Microsoft in 2009, the result was later overturned on appeal. The case recently returned to the court in Rhode Island, though this time Microsoft agreed to settle before the case went further.
Richardson is said to have developed the idea for the anti-piracy activation while working as a sound equipment programmer for INXS and John Denver back in the 90s. He was required to use expensive music software, but there was no way at the time to try the software before making an expensive outlay pushing musos to pirate the software instead.
Richardson took his patented idea of try-before-you-buy software to Microsoft in 1993, but Microsoft after showing interest in it, opted not to pursue a license. Subsequently, Microsoft developed its own version of Richardson's idea known as Clearinghouse and incorporated it into its products from 1997. The technology allows users to download trial versions of software and then buy a license for it, should they wish to continue using it.
According to Microsoft spokesman David Cuddy, the companies reached a 'final and mutually agreeable resolution' to the dispute, which was first began in 2003. Uniloc, which is now based in Singapore, also has other ongoing disputes over the incorporation of similar technology into products from Symantec and Adobe. Inventor Ric Richardson took to his own blog to say that 'the biggest thing at this moment so soon after the moment is the satisfaction of having stayed the course in support of the team at Uniloc. They really have done a great job.' [via The Sydney Morning Herald]