Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Now Microsoft Has Ergonomic Keyboards to Worry About - Encinitas inventor William Louis has been fighting Microsoft Corp. since 1998 over patents for ergonomic keyboards – with very little success.

Yesterday, he finally had something to smile about.

A federal appeals court resurrected Louis' long-running federal lawsuit accusing the software company of patent infringement.

In the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the court said a U.S. District Court judge in San Diego made a mistake when she ruled that patents held by TypeRight Keyboard Corp. for V-shaped keyboards with wrist rests were invalid. Louis co-founded TypeRight in the early '90s.

Although the appeals court didn't take a stand on whether TypeRight's patents are valid, it did say evidence Microsoft presented to the San Diego court was less than ironclad.

"The federal circuit found that this issue should be decided by a jury, that juries are supposed to resolve factual disputes," said Matthew Herron, a San Diego patent lawyer who represents TypeRight.

The case is likely to be sent back to San Diego, although Microsoft still has time to ask the appeals court to reconsider. Microsoft and its lawyers did not return telephone calls.

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