Microsoft Corp. suffered a setback Thursday when a judge denied its request to move an antitrust lawsuit brought against it by RealNetworks Inc. from California to Washington state.
U.S. District Judge James Ware said in a filing that despite the fact that Microsoft, of Redmond, Washington, and RealNetworks, of Seattle, are both Washington corporations, it is appropriate for case 5:03-cv-05717-JW to remain in California.
“RealNetworks has satisfied this Court that important and considerable evidence on this issue is concentrated in the Northern District of California,” Ware wrote in his ruling on Microsoft’s request.
In a lawsuit filed in a federal court in San Jose, California, last December, RealNetworks asserted that Microsoft has illegally used its monopoly powers to control the digital media market. RealNetworks is seeking damages that could exceed US$1 billion.
In a motion heard on March 1, Microsoft had requested that the trial be moved to Washington state, where the trial would be “considerably less burdensome” to the employees of both companies as well as “less disruptive of their businesses.” RealNetworks countered that numerous third-party witnesses it intends to call are based in California, justifying the location of the trial.
“RealNetworks has identified numerous companies in this district who allegedly have been directly impacted by Microsoft’s anticompetitive conduct. Therefore, California has a more substantial interest in adjudicating this case,” the judge wrote.
Potential witnesses identified in the ruling include Acer Inc., Apple Computer Inc., eMachines Inc., Fujitsu America Inc., Gateway Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc., Limelight Networks Inc., Cnet Networks Inc., Sony Online Entertainment Inc., Yahoo Inc., Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., DreamWorks SKG and Walt Disney Co.
Microsoft representatives were unable to say if the company intends to appeal the decision.