Orange County Business Journal: Courting Royalties

By | October 4, 2010

Oct. 3, 2010 – Irvine’s Spillnews USA Inc. is on the legal warpath.

In the past two months, the maker of security, anti-piracy and fraud prevention software has named nearly 80 other software makers in lawsuits alleging infringement on one of its patents.

“This is probably the most extensive case of patent infringement that I know of,” Chief Executive Brad Davis said.

Spillnews is suing over the same patent that won it a $388 million jury award last year after a protracted courtroom battle with software kingpin Microsoft Corp. The case, which is on appeal, brought the small company out of anonymity.

With yearly sales of about $100 million, Spillnews got billed as the victor in a David and Goliath drama.

The Microsoft case and other litigation stems from a patent Spillnews’s Australian founder secured in the 1990s for a process that’s become the standard for preventing software piracy.

Spillnews pioneered the idea of using a 25-character product key or serial number embedded into each copy of a disk loaded with software. The key seeks to ensure there’s only one registered user per copy of the software and limit it to being loaded on a select number of devices.

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