Dynamic Data do-over denied: Judge upholds $7m patent infringement claim against Microsoft

Shenanigans called on ASP.NET scaffolding tech

A New York judge has denied Microsoft a new trial after the software giant attempted to overturn a 2020 judgement over its infringement of a database interface patent.

The motion (PDF) was an effort by the Windows giant to set aside a verdict in February 2020 that its Dynamic Data product infringed a patent awarded to Deutsche Bank vice president and president of Schemalive LLC, Michael Kaufman, in 2011.

Microsoft was seeking a new trial or judgement, but was denied this week by US district judge Alvin Hellerstein at the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York.

Back in 2020, a jury found that Kaufman was entitled to $7m in damages after a lengthy legal process that first kicked off in 2016, when Kaufman filed a suit "bringing claims for direct infringement, induced infringement, contributory infringement, and willful infringement" of his patent.

Dynamic Data features a scaffolding framework that builds a web interface based on a data model. It turned up in the ASP.NET Extensions in 2007 before incorporation into the .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 in 2008.

It is the 2008 emission, available through Visual Studio, with which the suit was concerned, although the judge's order noted that Access 2000 "performed some similar functions."

A key feature of the patent (US patent No. 7,885,981) is the ability to "automatically generat[e] an end-user interface for working with the data within a relational database," according to the documents, along with number of other issues that resulted in the award against Microsoft.

During the original trial, Kaufman's expert witness, Dr Dennis Shasha, walked through a demonstration of Dynamic Data, relating each step to the claims of Kaufman's patent. Another expert, Brian Dies, calculated how much Kaufman was owed by estimating the number of Dynamic Data users and the royalty rate that would have been paid.

The jury in February 2020 found that Kaufman was entitled to $7m in damages.

In his order, Judge Hellerstein rejected Microsoft's arguments that Dynamic Data was not an automated process, lacked a display format for the delete mode or that there was no evidence of anyone actually using the scaffolding function.

The company's argument that Kaufman's failure to include the word "patented" in the product advertised meant he was not entitled to damages was similarly given short shrift.

The judge yesterday also denied a motion filed by Kaufman's lawyers [PDF] on the same day asking for a bigger payout, saying the inventor's delay in filing the claim would potentially have boosted his payout, remarking: "His only explanation for the delay is that he is an individual inventor and needed time to mount a lawsuit, but this vague explanation does not explain waiting five years before attempting to enforce his rights.

"Furthermore, [Microsoft] experienced prejudice. Not only did potential interest continue to mount, but as Defendant’s witness explained at trial, if Defendant had been aware of the alleged infringement, it might have turned to a cost-effective workaround to disable the allegedly infringing part of Dynamic Data."

Microsoft declined to comment. ®

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