Microsoft Files Appeal Brief in Java Suit
(January 17, 1999) Microsoft filed its appeal brief in its suit with Sun Microsystems on January 13, 1999. Sun sued Microsoft in late 1997 alleging that Microsoft has violated its java licensing agreement. Microsoft is appealing the preliminary injunction issued by Judge Whyte last November.
|See, Summary of Sun Microsystems v. Microsoft, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, San Jose, Case Number 97-CV-20884. On appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, Case No. 99-15046.|
Judge Ronald Whyte's Preliminary Injunction, issued on November 18, 1998, requires Microsoft to modify all its software products that ship with Java technologies to pass Sun's Java compatibility test suite. The order affects MS Internet Explorer 4.0, Windows 98, and the development tool, Visual J++ 6.0. The injunction gives Microsoft 90 days to come into compliance.
On the basis of these allegations, Sun sought, and obtained from Judge Whyte, the preliminary injunction, which Microsoft now appeals.
Sun's Complaint, 10/14/97.
Preliminary Injunction, 11/17/98.
Microsoft's Appeal Brief, 1/13/99.
"Microsoft believes that the district court made several errors that should be reversed by the court of appeals," said Tom Burt, associate general counsel at Microsoft in a press release. "This lawsuit is about the contract between two companies. We believe the court's preliminary injunction ruling was based on an erroneous analysis of the contract."
Microsoft's appeal brief argues that Judge Whyte's preliminary injunction should be reversed for five reasons. First, Judge Whyte issued the preliminary injunction based on copyright infringement standards when Sun asserted a breach of contract claim. Second, Judge Whyte failed to enforce the parties’ agreement to limit the remedies available for breach of contract. The contract provided for stipulated damages.
Third, Judge Whyte issued a preliminary injunction under the Copyright Act that restrains development and distribution of Microsoft’s independently developed products which contain no Sun copyrighted technology. Fourth, Judge Whyte entered a preliminary injunction under California’s unfair competition statute that enjoins certain discontinued license provisions where there was no evidence that these challenged practices would resume and no showing of imminent harm.
Finally, Microsoft asserts that Judge Whyte erred when he granted preliminary injunctive relief based on an interpretation of the parties’ license agreement that is contrary to its unambiguous language.
|Judge Enjoins Microsoft in Java Suit,
Sun Seeks Injunction of Windows 98, 5/13/98.
Judge Issues Preliminary Injunction in Java Suit, 11/18/98.
Re: Appeal of Preliminary Injunction.
Date: January 14, 1999.
Source: Microsoft Corp.
Microsoft Appeals Preliminary Injunction Ruling in Sun
Asserts That Court Erred in Interpretation of Contract
REDMOND, Wash. - Jan. 14, 1999 - Microsoft Corp. filed its appeal of the preliminary injunction issued by the Federal District Court in San Jose on Nov. 18, 1998, in the contract dispute with Sun Microsystems Inc. The appeal, filed with the U.S. Appeals Court in San Francisco, is based on arguments that the district court erred in its interpretation of the licensing contract and applied incorrect legal standards in granting a preliminary injunction.
"Microsoft believes that the district court made several errors that should be reversed by the court of appeals," said Tom Burt, associate general counsel at Microsoft. "This lawsuit is about the contract between two companies. We believe the court's preliminary injunction ruling was based on an erroneous analysis of the contract."
The appeal outlines several key issues in the preliminary injunction order that Microsoft believes the U.S. Appeals Court should reverse. A key issue is the fact that the court mistakenly treated this issue as a copyright issue rather than a contract dispute. To avoid remedies limitations in the contract, Sun argued to the district court that Microsoft was violating Sun's copyright.
"We also believe the court applied incorrect legal standards and failed to properly consider all the facts in reaching a preliminary determination about the meaning of the contract," Burt added. Microsoft contends that the court improperly interpreted the parties' agreement regarding support for Sun's Java Native Interface (JNI) and compatibility tests for Microsoft® compiler modes.
"We are continuing to move ahead with our compliance effort while the appeals court considers our motion, and we continue to believe that once all of the facts are presented in court, Microsoft's action will be shown to be pro-competitive, good for consumers and within the rights of our license agreement," Burt stated.