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Ending a protracted, three-year legal battle over the Java programming language, Sun Microsystems Inc. settled Tuesday its copyright infringement suit against Microsoft Corp. Under the terms of the settlement, Microsoft agreed to pay Sun $20 million and to terminate the original licensing agreement the two companies have fought over since October 1997. Microsoft also accepted a permanent injunction against using Sun’s copyrighted “Java Compatible” trademark. “From Sun’s perspective, the case was about compatibility, it was never about money,” said James Batchelder, a partner at Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder in Cupertino, Calif., which represented Sun. Differences in the handling of the case prompted Day Casebeer to splinter from Cooley Godward and set up shop in June 1998. Leading the matter for Sun has been Lloyd “Rusty” Day Jr., a top Silicon Valley litigator. Batchelder said that settlement negotiations have been under way intermittently since Sun filed the case, Sun Microsystems v. Microsoft, 97-20884, in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif. Sun sued Microsoft over breach of contract, trademark infringement and unfair competition, alleging the Redmond, Wash., software giant was marketing incompatible versions of Sun’s Java programming language. Championed by Sun as a way to shatter Microsoft’s operating system monopoly, Java is a programming language that enables applications to run on any platform. Microsoft licensed Java from Sun in 1996 but its products failed to pass Sun’s compatibility tests. Sun sued and a little more than a year later, won an injunction against Microsoft from San Jose U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte. Microsoft appealed but has been under injunction for much of the past two years.

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