Technology is an industry where innovation seems to come with a legal risk that a third party may allege that their intellectual property rights have been infringed. In an industry that experiences constant development on previous ideas, it is not hard to understand why.
D3D Technologies Inc (‘D3D’) alleged that Microsoft had infringed four of its patents last year in relation to its alternative reality (‘AR’) device. D3D is a company that focuses on the technological improvement of 3D imaging in order to change the way brain aneurysms are diagnosed.
AR devices have become extremely popular and lucrative in the last decade with companies such as Google and Occulus VR creating headsets incorporating a similar technology. AR allows the individual to experience an alternative environment, causing the brain to be stimulated through the full sensory experience.
The alleged infringing product from Microsoft is called the HoloLens and it is a mixed reality holographic head-mounted headset. It uses the Windows Mixed Reality platform under the Windows 10 computer operating system.
The US District Court for the Middle District of Florida based in Tampa, dismissed the appeal on 22 March 2021. Its findings centred on two failures by D3D:
- D3D failed to show how Microsoft had actual knowledge of the indirect infringement of its patents.
- D3D failed to state how Microsoft was willfully blind to its indirect infringement.
Nevertheless, as this patent dispute has been ongoing since 2017, there is still the possibility that D3D will make another attempt to bring a successful legal claim against Microsoft.