Microsoft SQL Server Patent Problem

This could be quite serious for a lot of companies: SQL Server developers face huge royalty bills.

The judgment concerns a contract dispute between Timeline Inc. and Microsoft, over three patents relating to datamarts. In Microsoft’s interpretration of its licence with Timeline, published in a press release in July 1999, “all users of Microsoft SQL Server 7, Office 2000 and other Microsoft products that utilize this type of technology are unencumbered by Timeline’s patents.”
Timeline disagreed. The Washington Court of Appeal judgement plumped for the company. The company reckons that some SQL Server developers could face bills in the millions of dollars. The “damages they face may be material to Timeline’s future financial results,” Charles Osenbaugh, Timeline’s president and CEO.

News.com also has the story.

In a ruling that could force royalty fees on some developers working with Microsoft’s SQL Server 7 data-management software, a Washington state judge said Microsoft could not sublicense another company’s patents to SQL Server customers.

Story from slashdot

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