Microsoft wins patent case with Timeline

A judge dismissed patent infringement claims filed by Timeline against Microsoft

Microsoft won a round in its battle with patent licensing company Timeline.

On May 29, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington dismissed Timeline's accusations of patent infringement, ruling that Microsoft's patent licensing agreement with Timeline is valid.

The case dates back to 2005 when Timeline sued ProClarity for patent infringement. A few months later, Microsoft acquired ProClarity and shortly after that, Timeline added Microsoft to the ProClarity suit. In the suit, Timeline claimed to have terminated its contract with Microsoft based on breach of contract and charged the software giant with patent infringement.

In the May 29 ruling, the judge decided that Timeline couldn't terminate the licensing agreement based on its breach of contract claims. As a result, the court ruled that the licensing agreement was valid and thus Microsoft wasn't infringing on any patents.

Since the ruling, Timeline filed a breach of contract suit against Microsoft in Washington State Superior Court, it said in a June 4 press release. It also may appeal the district court ruling.

Microsoft lost an earlier separate battle against Timeline. In 2002, an appeals court ruled that Microsoft couldn't allow its customers to combine their own code with Microsoft products if the added code resulted in a process that infringed Timeline's patent.

The Timeline patents relate to technology used in database software and Microsoft used them in its Small Business Financial Manager product.

Timeline recently changed its focus from a developer of software applications to a company dedicated to licensing its intellectual property.

Timeline did not return calls seeking comment. Microsoft also has not replied to requests for comment.

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