Microsoft's lawyers will be busy in the next few months

In the midst of all the Windows 7 hoopla last week, Microsoft released its first quarter fiscal 2010 10-Q. In that document was mention of a number of the pending lawsuits against the company that are due to see some action during Microsoft's fiscal 2010.

(Microsoft's fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.)

Some of these suits have been covered extensively by us bloggers and journalists, including the seemingly never-ending Opera antitrust case against Microsoft and the i4i suit over alleged patent infringement by Microsoft's Office suite.

But there's been relatively little coverage as of late about what's going on with the Novell antitrust suit filed in 2004 against Microsoft over WordPefect. In June 2005, the trial court granted Microsoft's motion to dismiss four of six claims of the complaint. Both parties appealed, and in October 2007, the court of appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court, and remanded the case to that court for further proceedings. Fact discovery has closed and summary judgment motions were filed in October 2009

The latest is that a hearing has been set for January 22, 2010, before Judge Motz in the Federal District Court in Baltimore, to present oral arguments on Microsoft's motion for summary judgment, a Microsoft spokesperson told me late last week.

The 10-Q also mentions "over 50 other patent infringement cases pending against Microsoft, 10 of which are set for trial in fiscal year 2010," Among those on the list:

* A lawsuit filed by JuxtaComm Technologies against Microsoft and other defendants — including IBM, Oracle, Business Objects and others with ETL (extract, transform and load) tool vendors — in U.S. District Court in Texas. JuxtaComm claims that technologies in several Microsoft products including SQL Server, Visual Studio, Visio, and .Net Framework infringe a JuxtaComm patent relating to data integration. Trial has been scheduled for November 2009.

* A lawsuit by VirnetX in U.S. District Court in Texas in which VirnetX asserts that various Microsoft products including Windows client and server operating systems software and communications software infringe patents relating to certain secure Internet communications. Trial is scheduled for March 2010.

Microsoft's 10-Q notes that as of September 30, 2009, Microsoft had accrued aggregate liabilities of $700 million and $400 million in other long-term liabilities fo all of the contingent cases described above. The 10-Q also points out that:

"There exists the possibility of adverse outcomes that we estimate could be up to $1.9 billion in aggregate beyond recorded amounts. The foregoing amount does not include the January 15, 2009 European Commission statement of objections, the outcome and range of which is not reasonably estimable. Were unfavorable final outcomes to occur, there exists the possibility of a material adverse impact on our financial position, results of operations, and cash flows" once the effects start to hit.

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