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Adobe and Macromedia settle patent lawsuits

Web graphics and publishing software rivals Adobe and Macromedia jointly announced yesterday that they have reached a settlement agreement on all litigation between them. The terms of the settlement are being kept confidential. The two companies claim, however, that customers with products from either Adobe or Macromedia will not be affected.30 Jul 2002

The two companies have a history of patent disputes. In the latest dispute, Adobe claimed that Macromedia’s Flash web animation tool infringed two of its patents for tabbed palettes. The tabbed palettes provide an Adobe interface that allows users to display and customise multiple layers of image data on the same screen, while working on design.

Macromedia, meanwhile, counter-sued Adobe for infringing two of its patents for editing tools, claiming that they were infringed by Adobe’s Photoshop image editing software and GoLive design software.

In May this year, Adobe won its lawsuit against Macromedia in the US District Court of Delaware and was awarded $2.8 million in damages. However, eight days later, Macromedia won its counter claim against Adobe in the same court and was awarded $4.9 million damages. Macromedia then filed a second countersuit, which was scheduled for trial in June 2003.

Yesterday’s agreement between the two companies settles all claims in this series of patent suits.