Microsoft sued for patent infringement

The Associated Press
Friday April 27, 2001

SAN JOSE — A small digital rights management company filed a lawsuit Thursday against Microsoft Corp., claiming patent infringement. 

InterTrust Technologies Corp., a Santa Clara-based provider of software and services to help businesses protect their content over the Internet, filed the suit in federal court in San Jose. The five-page lawsuit alleges that Microsoft’s digital rights management software being distributed to the public through its Windows Media Player program violates a patent that was issued to InterTrust on Feb. 6. 

InterTrust, an $8 million-a-year company founded 11 years ago, says it holds 18 patents in the field of digital rights management, and 40 others are pending. 

DRM technology has gained more attention as the protection of digital content has become a hot-button issue as consumers are accessing more and more material from the Internet, such as popular songs through Napster Inc.’s Web site. 

“Microsoft has innovated in the area of digital rights management for many years, and it’s unfortunate that InterTrust has chosen to resort to the courts rather than compete in the marketplace,” said Jim Cullinan, spokesman for the Redmond, Wash.-based company. 

Cullinan did not have further comment. The suit seeks an injunction and monetary damages.