Klarquist Wins $8.6 Million Attorney Fees Award for Microsoft
On May 22, 2006, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, the Honorable Manuel L. Real, presiding, awarded Microsoft $8,612,000 in attorneys’ fees against Research Corporation Technologies (RCT) of Tucson, Arizona. After a trial in August 2005, the Court found that three of six patents asserted by RCT were “unenforceable due to the patent applicants’ inequitable conduct in withholding material information from the Patent Office with an intent to deceive the Patent Office.” The remaining asserted claims were found invalid on Microsoft’s motion for summary judgment. RCT filed suit in 2001 claiming that certain printing and display functionality present in different versions of Microsoft® Windows® and Microsoft Office had infringed on six patents directed to an alleged invention at the University of Rochester of a “blue noise mask” for use in halftoning digital images. The patents previously had been asserted against Hewlett-Packard Company, Seiko Epson Corporation, and Lexmark International, each of whom had settled out of court and taken a license. In awarding Microsoft attorney fees, the Court found it to be an “exceptional case” and that RCT knew or should have known of the inequitable conduct before the Patent Office.
Microsoft was represented in the district court by Klarquist Sparkman, LLP and Tucson co-counsel, Snell & Wilmer, LLP.