i4i's patent victory against Microsoft late last year was significant not only because it was a true David v. Goliath, underdog wins kind of story, but also because it involved Microsoft Word, part of the Microsoft Office productivity suite.
The trial court found that the XML capablities in later versions of Word do infringe a patent held by i4i, that Microsoft is liable for $290 million in damages, and that Microsoft must remove those capabilities from the program or stop selling the versions of Word that contain those capabilities.
At least one observer has already included the case in a list of the tech industry's most significant patent decisions.
As experts have also said, it's not quite over. But Wednesday, the end edged nearer when a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit again decided the ruling in favor of i4i should stand. According to PC Magazine:
In January, Microsoft filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that requested a panel re-hearing...Microsoft said the original judgment could set a dangerous precedent for future patent cases. The court ruled Wednesday that the initial ruling should stand.
The court is still considering the software giant's request for a rehearing en banc, or a rehearing before the full court. (The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit consists of 12 judges.)
In a statement, i4i chairman Louden Owen said, "The appeals court has again upheld the lower court's decision in its entirety..."