The US Supreme Court has apparently asked the White House to weigh in on a case its deciding whether or not to review. The case involves a patent dispute between AT&T and Microsoft. In question isn't the patents or whether or not they were violated. That part has been settled, with Microsoft agreeing to pay AT&T for using technology AT&T patented in copies of Windows that have NetMeeting (that patent involves making voices sound clear). At issue here, however, is whether or not Microsoft is liable for copies of Windows installed outside of the US. Of course, it seems likely that the White House won't have much of a problem saying that patent issues extend beyond our borders -- but that could have some pretty serious implications for many other patent lawsuits, making potential damages for companies that much greater, even if the products are shipping in countries where the technology is not covered by patents.
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