In March 2004, the European Commission issued a competition law decision that, among other things, ordered us to license certain Windows server protocol technology to our competitors. In March 2007, the European Commission issued a statement of objections claiming that the pricing terms we proposed for licensing the technology as required by the March 2004 decision were “not reasonable.” Following additional steps we took to address these concerns, the Commission announced on October 22, 2007 that we were in compliance with the March 2004 decision and that no further penalty should accrue after that date. On February 27, 2008, the Commission issued a fine of $1.4 billion (€899 million) relating to the period prior to October 22, 2007. In May 2008, we filed an application with the European Court of First Instance to annul the February 2008 fine. We paid the $1.4 billion (€899 million) fine in June 2008, pending the outcome of the appeal.
In January 2008, the Commission opened a competition law investigation that relates primarily to interoperability with respect to our Microsoft Office family of products. This investigation resulted from complaints filed with the Commission by a trade association of Microsoft’s competitors. Microsoft has made a number of proposals to address the Commission’s competition law concerns in this area. The Commission announced on December 16, 2009 that it welcomed these proposals and that it will take them into account in assessing this matter. During the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2010, the trade association withdrew its complaint that was the basis of the investigation.
We are also subject to a Consent Decree and Final Judgment (“Final Judgments”) that resolved lawsuits brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, 18 states, and the District of Columbia in two separate actions. The Final Judgments imposed various constraints on our Windows operating system businesses. The Final Judgments are scheduled to expire in May 2011.
In other ongoing investigations, various foreign governments and several state attorneys general have requested information from us concerning competition, privacy, and security issues.
A large number of antitrust and unfair competition class action lawsuits were filed against us in various state, federal, and Canadian courts on behalf of various classes of direct and indirect purchasers of our PC operating system and certain other software products. We obtained dismissals of damages claims of indirect purchasers under federal law and in 15 states. Courts refused to certify classes in two additional states. We have reached agreements to settle all claims that have been made to date in 19 states and the District of Columbia.
The settlements in all states have received final court approval. Under the settlements, generally class members can obtain vouchers that entitle them to be reimbursed for purchases of a wide variety of platform-neutral computer hardware and software. The total value of vouchers that we may issue varies by state. We will make available to certain schools a percentage of those vouchers that are not issued or claimed (one-half to two-thirds depending on the state). The total value of vouchers we ultimately issue will depend on the number of class members who make claims and are issued vouchers. The maximum value of vouchers to be issued is approximately $2.7 billion. The actual costs of these settlements will be less than that maximum amount, depending on the number of class members and schools that are issued and redeem vouchers. We estimate the total cost to resolve all of the state overcharge class action cases will range between $1.9 billion and $2.0 billion. At June 30, 2010, we have recorded a liability related to these claims of approximately $651 million, which reflects our estimated exposure of $1.9 billion less payments made to date of approximately $1.2 billion mostly for vouchers, legal fees, and administrative expenses.
The three cases pending in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, Canada have not been settled. In March 2010, the court in the British Columbia case certified it as a class action. We have appealed this ruling. The other two actions have been stayed.
In November 2004, Novell, Inc. filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah (later transferred to federal court in Maryland), asserting antitrust and unfair competition claims against us related to Novell’s ownership of WordPerfect and other productivity applications during the period between June 1994 and March 1996. In June 2005, the trial court granted our motion to dismiss four of six claims of the complaint. On March 30, 2010, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Microsoft as to all remaining claims. Novell has appealed that ruling.
In 2003, we filed an action in U.S. District Court in California seeking a declaratory judgment that we do not infringe certain Alcatel-Lucent patents (although this action began before the merger of Alcatel and Lucent in 2006, for simplicity we refer to the post-merger entity of Alcatel-Lucent). In April 2008, a jury returned a verdict in AlcatelLucent’s favor in a trial on a consolidated group of one video and three user interface patents. The jury concluded that we had infringed two user interface patents and awarded $367 million in damages. In June 2008, the trial judge increased the amount of damages to $512 million to include $145 million of interest. We appealed that award to the Federal Circuit. In December 2008, we entered into a settlement agreement resolving all other litigation pending between Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent, leaving approximately $500 million remaining in dispute. In September 2009, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the liability award but vacated the verdict and remanded the case to the trial court for a re-trial of the damages ruling, indicating the damages previously awarded were too high. Trial on the remanded damages claim has been set for the first week of December 2010.
In October 2003, Uniloc USA Inc., a subsidiary of a Singapore-based security technology company, filed a patent infringement suit in U.S. District Court in Rhode Island, claiming that product activation technology in Windows XP and certain other Microsoft programs violated a Uniloc patent. After we obtained a favorable summary judgment that we did not infringe any of the claims of this patent, the court of appeals vacated the trial court decision and remanded the case for trial. In April 2009, the jury returned a $388 million verdict against us, including a finding of willful infringement. In September 2009, the district court judge overturned the jury verdict, ruling that the evidence did not support the jury’s finding that Microsoft infringed the patent. Uniloc has appealed.
In March 2007, i4i Limited Partnership sued Microsoft in U.S. District Court in Texas claiming that certain custom XML technology in Word 2003 and 2007 infringed i4i’s patent. In May 2009, a jury returned a verdict against us, finding damages of $200 million and that we willfully infringed the patent. In August 2009, the court denied our posttrial motions and awarded enhanced damages of $40 million and prejudgment interest of $37 million. The court also issued a permanent injunction prohibiting additional distribution of the allegedly infringing technology. We appealed and the appellate court stayed the injunction pending our appeal. On December 22, 2009, the court of appeals rejected our appeal and affirmed the trial court’s judgment and injunction, except that the court of appeals modified the effective date of the injunction to January 11, 2010. On April 1, 2010, the court of appeals denied our request for a rehearing. We intend to seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 2007, VirnetX Inc. brought suit in U.S. District Court in Texas claiming that various Microsoft products including Windows client and server operating systems software and communications software infringe two patents related to technology for securely communicating over the Internet. This case was tried by a jury in March 2010. The jury returned a verdict that Microsoft willfully infringed both patents, and found damages of approximately $106 million. In March 2010, VirnetX filed a new lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas alleging that additional Microsoft products and services including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 infringe the same two patents. The parties have reached an agreement to settle both lawsuits.
There are over 50 other patent infringement cases pending against Microsoft, 10 of which are set for trial in fiscal year 2010.
We also are subject to a variety of other claims and suits that arise from time to time in the ordinary course of our business. Although management currently believes that resolving claims against us, individually or in aggregate, will not have a material adverse impact on our financial statements, these matters are subject to inherent uncertainties and management’s view of these matters may change in the future.
As of June 30, 2010, we had accrued aggregate liabilities of approximately $1.0 billion in other current liabilities and approximately $236 million in other long-term liabilities for all of the contingent matters described in this note. While we intend to vigorously defend these matters, there exists the possibility of adverse outcomes that we estimate could reach approximately $800 million in aggregate beyond recorded amounts. Were unfavorable final outcomes to occur, there exists the possibility of a material adverse impact on our financial statements for the period in which the effects become reasonably estimable.