Appeals Court Reaffirms i4i Patent Win Against Microsoft

Lora Bentley

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..."



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Mar 15, 2010 7:08 AM Jeff Yablon Jeff Yablon  says:

Microsoft has a long history of playing both sides on the software patents issue.

With apologies for not having a citing for this, they have even chosen recently not to get cozy with a consortium of software companies petitioning USPTO to enforce patents protection for software, and I have to believe there's a connection to the i4i situation.I wrote about this in December when Microsoft lost their first appeal ( http://answerguy.com/2009/12/23/microsoft-word-office-illegal-changing-banned/ ) and way back in August when Microsoft was originally found to be on the wrong side of things with i4i. And of course my opinion re the Facebook Social Networking patent ( http://answerguy.com/2010/02/25/patents-must-be-unique-facebook-7669123/ ) has become hugely popular. And all I see is that software patents are a way to stiflr innovation, while protecting nothing-and certainly not doing what patents were meant to do.

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