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April 15, 2005
Shades of Burst
Microsoft settled with Burst rather than fight. Now it finds itself facing another small company with another patent that a judge seems to feel is a good enough reason to block Microsoft from using a particular technology in Windows.
In this case, the company is called Alacritech Inc. Their patent covers part of a product they make for "TCP offloading." (I don't claim to understand this.) Microsoft has claimed it is not violating the patent, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco did deny Alacritech's request for a broad injunction. Instead, they've agreed to issue an injunction against Microsoft using the so-called "chimney" technology in Windows Server 2003 or the much-anticipated Longhorn OS revamp.
MS hasn't stated whether it will appeal; my guess is that it will and it will ask the higher court to void or stay the injunction while the issues are argued. If the injunction is removed then MS will probably proceed on the issues. If not, I expect they'll just wave their magic money wand and make it go away.
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