Eolas revisited: Microsoft gets new chance in area case
Judge should have bowed out, court says
Published August 1, 2006
A U.S. appeals court said Monday that Microsoft Corp. is entitled to a new judge to preside over a patent trial in which the software giant will try to avoid paying $521 million in damages to a Wheaton company.
U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel should have stepped aside when the case was sent back to his Chicago court, ruled the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington.
Rules for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago require that a new judge take over a case remanded on appeal to eliminate any bias stemming from the initial trial.
The 7-year-old dispute returned to Chicago after the Federal Circuit granted Microsoft a new trial over the validity of the patent, owned by the University of California and licensed to closely held Eolas Technologies Inc. of Wheaton. The debate over who would preside over the case has held up scheduling of a new trial.