Declaring that U.S. patent law does not apply to software sent to foreign countries, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-1 that Microsoft did not infringe upon digital speech coding patents held by AT&T when Microsoft transferred data containing the Windows operating system to foreign manufacturers for installation on computers to be sold abroad. The decision deals a setback to AT&T, which maintains that computers running the Microsoft Windows system infringe on patented AT&T technologies that compress speech into computer code. Although Microsoft has admitted to violations of AT&T’s patent in the U.S., the software giant argued that it did not infringe AT&T patents with respect to Windows software copied onto computers that are sold abroad, as U.S. law does not apply to U.S.-patented products that are manufactured and sold overseas. Citing a 1984 law that holds a company liable for patent infringement when it ships components of a U.S.-patented product overseas for assembly, AT&T convinced the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that Microsoft’s actions violated the law. For the Supreme Court, the issue was whether software code should be treated as a component of a patented device that would be covered by the 1984 statute. Agreeing with Microsoft’s claim that the Windows software in question should be viewed as an exported blueprint or schematic and not as a component, the high court ruled in Microsoft’s favor. Writing for the majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said there was no reason to think that Congress intended “to place the information Microsoft dispatched from the United States in a separate category.” Observing “the presumption that United States law governs domestically but does not rule the world applies with particular force in patent law,” Ginsberg added: “if AT&T desires to prevent copying abroad, its remedy today lies in obtaining and enforcing foreign patents.”