Symantec, Microsoft trial date set for December 2007

Patent infringement lawsuit filed by Symantec against Microsoft is expected to begin in December 2007

The trial involving a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Symantec against Microsoft is now expected to begin in December 2007, according to an attorney familiar with the case.

After months of legal discovery, the two companies have decided on a special master, who will act as a third party to help the judge in the case interpret and understand the technical information provided during the proceedings. The special master will be Gale Peterson, a patent attorney at Cox Smith Matthews, a San Antonio law firm, according to Cris Paden, a spokesman for Symantec.

In May, Symantec filed a lawsuit against Microsoft claiming that the software giant had misappropriated storage technology from Veritas, which Symantec acquired last year.

Since then, the two companies have primarily been performing discovery, each coming up with documents to support its case and producing documents demanded by the other side. However, earlier this month, after the postponement of a scheduled Oct. 12 meeting, some progress was made on the case itself.

Steve Aeschbacher, associate general counsel for Microsoft, told Computerworld this week that he expects the trial to begin a little more than a year from now.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle and seeks unspecified damages and an injunction barring Microsoft from using Symantec technology in Microsoft's Vista and Longhorn versions of the Windows client and server operating systems, according to the original complaint.