by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 26th 2008 6:49pm
Microsoft has been fighting for years against a Guatemalan patent holder, Carlos Amado, who claims to hold a patent on the concept of linking a database to a spreadsheet. The patent itself has been thoroughly debunked. Even the patent itself admits that it's merely taken a bunch of concepts that were widely used before and combining them -- which is exactly the type of thing that the Supreme Court has said should not be patentable. Microsoft has appealed the ruling, but the Supreme Court turned it down. However, it then appealed the amount of damages, and the appeals court has now thrown out the lower court's damages based on the fact that it appeared to pick the damages number out of thin air. It seems likely that Microsoft will still have to pay damages for infringement (though, the court also admits that new Supreme Court rulings may impact the amount as well), but the lower court is going to at least have to justify how much Microsoft needs to pay Amado for basically putting such an obvious idea on paper and filing a patent.
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