Jury finds Corel willfully infringed Microsoft Office patents


A jury from the Northern District of California recently awarded Microsoft Corporation a total of $278,000 in a patent infringement action against Corel Corporation and Corel, Inc. (collectively “Corel”). See Microsoft Corporation v. Corel Corporation et al (Case: 5:15-cv-05836-EJD). Microsoft had requested more than $1 million in damages for the infringement of patents related to Microsoft Office (i.e., the Microsoft Office patents).

Microsoft sued Corel in December 2015, asserting infringement of nine patents — 5 utility patents and four design patents. By the time the case was submitted to the jury on Friday, February 9, 2018, only six patents remained in the case…two utility patents and four design patents.

Microsoft argued that Corel willfully infringed those patents. The asserted Microsoft patents are directed to graphic user interfaces used in Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Office. Microsoft asserted that it has given its interfaces, including menus and toolbars, a distinctive look and feel, which Corel copied into the accused products, including WordPerfect X7. WordPerfect X7 even includes an option to use the product in the “Microsoft Word mode.” See Complaint para 3-5. Similarly, Quatro Pro X7 offers the option to use the product in the “Microsoft Excel mode.” See Complaint para. 6-8.

In the jury verdict form returned, the jury unanimously agreed that Corel had willfully infringed those patents.

At trial, Microsoft also claimed to have provided actual notice of infringement prior to filing of the complaint, in November of 2009, during a call with Corel. Microsoft had the burden of establishing that it is more probable than not Corel received actual notice of infringement of the design patents on that date. The jury found that Microsoft had not proved that Corel received notice prior to the filing of the patent infringement lawsuit.

Judge Edward Davilla entered the Minute Order and Trial Log, which concludes the trial. Judge Davilla ordered the parts to meet to confer regarding issues remaining post-verdict. He set a deadline of March 2, 2018, by which the parties will submit a status report and/or stipulation regarding the need for any briefing as relating to JMOL (Judgment as a Matter of Law) and damages. Upon review, a determination will be made with respect to the need for a further hearing.

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