Microsoft to pay US$388 Million to Australian Inventor?

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By Kristin Dian Mariano | March 15, 2012 5:32 PM EST

After long and tedious legal battle, Australian inventor Ric Richardson won against software giant Microsoft and could take away hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ric Richardson and Microsoft is reported to have reached an amicable decision after an eight-year long legal battle over. In September 2003, Ric Richardson filed a lawsuit against Microsoft for patent infringement after the company used Richardson's patented anti-piracy technology without the inventor's knowledge and permission.

In 2009, a United States court favored Ric Richardson and ordered the tech company to pay Ric US$388 million, which is one of the highest award in US patent history. However, the verdict was overturned five months later. Early last year, an appeals court upheld the original court's decision that Microsoft infringed Richardson's patented technology.

Until last week, a trial has been going on before a federal jury in Providence, Rhode Island, to determine how much Microsoft should now pay for infringing the patent. However, the trial was withdrawn by both parties as they had reached a "final and mutually agreeable resolution" with Microsoft to end the dispute.

Ric Richardson, a native of Byron Bay NSW, patented a technology that is designed to deter software piracy in the early 90s. He is a serial inventor with over 40 patents to his name and does much of his thinking in his van, which he dubs the "DickMobile", earning him the title of "man in a van".

He was informed about the settlement last Mar. 6. The Aussie inventor is patiently waiting of what the settlement meant to him in financial terms. However, Ric Richardson insisted that insisted he was "never in it for the money".

"I was in it because the right thing needed to be done," the Australian inventor said. It is understood the deal is a licensing agreement between Microsoft and Uniloc, with Richardson saying the deal did not involve a lump sum payment. An intellectual property law expert said that the 2009 order of US$388 million could be the rough ceiling and Ric may expect low around nine figures.

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