Move RealNetworks antitrust suit to Washington state, says Microsoft

Microsoft has asked a judge to move an antitrust suit filed by RealNetworks from California to Washington state, where both...

Microsoft has asked a judge to move an antitrust suit filed by RealNetworks from California to Washington state, where both companies are based.

RealNetworks sued Microsoft in December alleging that the company illegally used its monopoly powers to control the digital media market. The suit, filed in San Jose, seeks damages that could exceed $1bn.

“It makes no sense for a California jury to resolve a dispute between two Washington-based companies. To that end, we have recently filed a motion requesting that the case be transferred to the state of Washington for trial," said Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler. 

"We find it very puzzling that RealNetworks wants a legal issue, between two Seattle area companies, to be decided in California by Californians.  Both companies’ employees live here, our executives live here, and we are both headquartered here. It’s appropriate that a trial would be here as well,” Desler said.

Microsoft's move to requests a change of venue is not surprising, said RealNetworks spokesman Greg Chiemingo. It is a procedural matter and RealNetworks still wants a trial to be held in San Jose.

"We believe that any jury will benefit from the greatest number of in-person witnesses that can testify and it is clear that Silicon Valley has the largest number of potential witnesses because of its importance in the digital media industry," Chiemingo said.

San Jose is seen by many as the capital of Silicon Valley, the area where many high-technology companies are based, including Microsoft rivals Sun Microsystems and Oracle.

A hearing on Microsoft's request to move the case to Washington state has been scheduled for 1 March in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division.

Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service

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