Microsoft Loses Word Patent Battle
By on June 10th, 2011

The Canadian company i4i has won its patent battle against software giant, Microsoft. On Thursday, the US Supreme Court upheld the lower courts’ decisions stating that Microsoft Word is an infringing product and has ordered Microsoft to pay over $290m in damages to i4i.

Steve Ballmer

In 2007, i4i filed a case against Microsoft, claiming that the Word applications violated patent rights it held to Custom XML technology. And in December 2009, the US Courts found Microsoft guilty and ordered Microsoft to pay over $290 million in damages to i4i and directed Microsoft to stop selling versions of Word from January 2010.

Though Microsoft stopped selling versions of Word as per courts’ orders, it challenged the verdict and appealed in the US Supreme Court in August 2010, stating that a jury should determine a patent’s validity by a “preponderance evidence” instead of “clear and convincing evidence” standard instructed by the judge.

However, the Supreme Court upheld the lower courts’ decisions. Microsoft said it wanted a new trial, but the justices ruled against Microsoft.

Loudon Owen, chairman of i4i, said: “Microsoft tried to gut the value of patents by introducing a lower standard for invalidating patents. It is now 100% clear that you can only invalidate a patent based on ‘clear and convincing’ evidence.”

Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz stated: “While the outcome is not what we had hoped for, we will continue to advocate for changes to the law that will prevent abuse of the patent system and protect inventors who hold patents representing true innovation,”

The patent No. 5,787,449, issued in July 1998

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Author: Joel Fernandes Google Profile for Joel Fernandes
Joel Fernandes (G+) is a tech enthusiast and a social media blogger. During his leisure time, he enjoys taking photographs, and photography is one of his most loved hobbies. You can find some of his photos on Flickr. He does a little of web coding, and maintains a tech blog of his own - Techo Latte. Joel is currently pursuing his Masters in Computer Application from Bangalore, India. You can get in touch with him on Twitter - @joelfernandes, or visit his Facebook Profile for more information.

Joel Fernandes has written and can be contacted at joel@techie-buzz.com.

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