Adobe wins patent trial against Macromedia

A jury in Delaware has determined that Macromedia Inc. infringed on technology patents held by Adobe Systems Inc. and has awarded Adobe US$2.8 million in damages, the companies announced last Thursday.

Adobe sued Macromedia in August 2000 in the U.S. District Court, District of Delaware, charging that its Flash animation product makes use of patented technology developed by Adobe for its "tabbed pallette," a feature that helps users organize information on their computer screens.

Along with its damages award, Adobe, in San Jose, California, said it expects the court to issue an injunction that would prevent Macromedia from further infringement of Adobe patents.

Macromedia had filed a countersuit against Adobe raising patent infringement allegations of its own. Macromedia expects to begin presenting that case Monday, it said.

"It is unfortunate, and we believe wrong, that Adobe has chosen this field to compete. Ultimately, it is our customers, and particularly our mutual customers, that will be harmed," Rob Burgess, Macromedia's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Macromedia, in San Francisco, said it doesn't expect the award to have any material impact on its financial condition.

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