Microsoft is running out of options in the i4i patent case. On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied the software juggernaut's request for en banc review of its decision to uphold the judgment against Microsoft. InformationWeek quotes i4i Chairman Owen Louden this way:
i4i is delighted by this ruling from [the] Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.This has been a long and arduous process, but this decision is a powerful reinforcement of the message that smaller enterprises and inventors who own intellectual property can and will be protected.
The "arduous process" as Louden calls it, began in 2007 when the Toronto-based software shop sued Microsoft, arguing that the XML capabilities in Word 2007 infringed U.S. Patent No. 5,787,449, which details "a method for manipulating a document's content and architecture separately." In 2009, a federal court in Texas found in favor of i4i, slapped Microsoft with a record fine, and enjoined the sale of versions of Word that included the offending technology. The appeals court upheld the district court's ruling in the original appeal and on a rehearing.
Since a rehearing before the full appellate court was denied, the only recourse Microsoft has left is to apply to the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. In December, intellectual property attorney Andrew Updegrove said the chances of that writ being granted are slim. The Supreme Court grants review in less than 1 percent of cases seeking it.