The Final Word on i4i v. Microsoft: i4i

Lora Bentley

Though the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office first indicated its intent to validate U.S. Patent 5,787,449 a few months ago, the certificate reaffirming the patent's validity was issued Tuesday. Held by Toronto-based i4i, the patent concerns "a method for manipulating a document's content and architecture separately."


The patent company's landmark battle against Microsoft began more than three years ago. i4i sued Microsoft alleging that the XML capabilities in Word 2003 and Word 2007 violated the '449 patent. Microsoft requested reexamination by the Patent and Trademark Office, but also defended the case in U.S. District Court in Texas.


The court determined Microsoft was infringing the '449 patent and slapped the software giant with a $200 million fine. Microsoft appealed the ruling, and the court ordered Microsoft to stop selling the infringing products until the case was completely resolved. Microsoft then appealed the injunction, and lost on all fronts, including its request for an en banc rehearing of the appeal.


The resolution of the PTO reexamination proceeding in i4i's favor means that Microsoft is completely without recourse except to license the technology from i4i.

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