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Microsoft lost in translation

A recent court ruling involving a patent infringement case may force Microsoft to temporarily halt sales of Microsoft Office in South Korea, according to a report from the Korean Times.

In 1997 and 1998, Professor Lee Keung-hae of Hankuk Aviation University filed patents for technology used to automatically translate English into Korean within Microsoft Office applications. The Supreme Court of Korea has ruled that those Korean patents are effective.

Acknowledgement of the patents' validity could affect the pending civil lawsuit being brought against Microsoft by Seoul, South Korea-based P&IB, which purchased the rights to the patents. The next determination will be whether Microsoft infringed on the patents in question. That matter has not yet been ruled on.

"The courts in Korea have not yet considered all of our strong challenges to the validity of the patent, and our defense of non-infringement is still being considered in a separate proceeding. We do not currently anticipate any interruption to our ability to continue offering Microsoft Office in Korea," Microsoft spokesman Matt Pilla said in a statement.