Microsoft Loses Another Round in Excel Patent Case

Things aren’t going well for Microsoft on the litigation front.

On Friday, a United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a patent infringement verdict against Microsoft from last year, and as Microsoft protests, the bill piles up.

The patent, owned by inventor and businessman Armando Amado, covers linking a spreadsheet to a database. He first developed the method in 1990, then offered to license it to Microsoft in 1992 for use in Excel. Microsoft declined the offer.

Amado received a patent in 1994 and one year later, Microsoft introduced a new version of Office that featured linking of Excel spreadsheets to the Access database that came with Office. Microsoft issued a patch for its products while the case is appealed.

A jury found the patent to be valid and that Microsoft was guilty of patent infringement in June 2005. Amado was awarded $6.1 million in damages. An escrow account for damages was created during the appeals process, and that account balance is now over $65 million.

Vince Belusko, the lead attorney for Mr. Amado and a partner at the law firm of Morrison & Foerster, commented on the ruling.

“This ruling signals the validity of the patent and confirms Microsoft’s liability of infringement on Mr. Amado’s software program. We are hopeful that the District Court will now award Mr. Amado substantial monies from that escrow account when the matter is returned to the court.”

But it doesn’t look like Microsoft is giving up yet.

“We continue to contend that there was no infringement, and that our technology was developed by our own engineers based on pre-existing Microsoft technology,” said a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement sent to

“We will continue to pursue our legal options in this case,”

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