Opening statements in the Iowa consumer class action case against Microsoft begin November 30, 2006. Several readers each day have been hitting this blog reading posts relating to the case. To make it easier for readers I have added a Microsoft Iowa Litigation category on the right side of the blog. This should make it much easier to identify all the posts related to the litigation.
I will cover important highlights of the trial as it proceeds. The trial is expected to last six months. Of recent note, it is my understanding that Judge Rosenberg has ruled Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer will only be required to testify once in the trial. The Plaintiffs’ attorney, Roxanne Conlin, had wanted to complete her case-in-chief before allowing Microsoft attorneys the opportunity to question Gates and Ballmer fully. This is helpful to Microsoft as it allows the defense to complete any necessary rehabiliation of these two key witnesses before she completes her side of the case.
On the other hand, Conlin won a procedural victory in that she is able to present deposition testimony of Gates from 1998. This infamous deposition does not protray Gates in the best light and is considered by many as damaging to Microsoft. Conlin also gets to present a mountain of emails, many of which are considered damaging to Microsoft. For the jurors sake, let’s hope the parties only present a portion of the 25 million documents that have been gathered.
Microsoft will counter with the many innovations the company has created and how Gates and Co. positively transformed the computing world.
The Plaintiffs are asking for over $300 million in damages so there is no question this case will be hotly contested. It has been in the court system for nearly seven years and right now I wouldn’t doubt it could go for seven more, no matter who wins at trial.
For those interested in more on the Microsoft case you may want to check out Iowa patent lawyer Brett Trout’s blog, Blawg IT. Brett has periodic articles on the case and always has an interesting take.