KAUFMAN v. MICROSOFT CORPORATION
- May 20 2022 |
- Category: CAFC Updates
Kaufman is a co-inventor on and owns now-expired U.S. Patent No. 7,885,981 relating to methods for using a computer to automatically generate an end-user interface for working with the data in a relational database. Kaufman sued Microsoft, asserting infringement by Microsoft’s Dynamic Data product. A jury found Microsoft liable and awarded damages of $7 million to Kaufman and the district court upheld the verdict against Microsoft’s post-judgment challenges, and it also denied Kaufman’s motion to amend the judgment to include prejudgment interest. Both parties appeal. Microsoft’s arguments on appeal relate to the phrase “automatically generating,” which is found in the preambles of the asserted claims. However the CAFC finds that Microsoft failed to preserve its O2 Micro challenge, never proposed the asserted claim construction (presented for the first time on appeal) to the district court, and failed to establish that the district court erred in its claim construction or that the jury’s verdict was not supported by substantial evidence. The CAFC further finds that neither of the two rationales the district court provided for denying prejudgment interest to Mr. Kaufman is supportable on the record. First, given that all the testimony and the oral jury instructions assumed a 2011 hypothetical negotiation and provided no basis for calculating prejudgment interest, it was unreasonable for the district court to conclude that the damages figure provided by the jury subsumed interest. Second, the district court lacked reasonable support for its determination that Microsoft had demonstrated prejudice from Kaufman’s five-year delay in bringing the lawsuit. Therefore, the CAFC concludes that the district court abused its discretion in denying Mr. Kaufman’s motion to amend the judgment to include prejudgment interest and reverses the district court’s denial of the motion and affirms the district court’s denial of Microsoft’s motion for judgment as a matter of law or for a new trial.