updated 03:00 pm EST, Mon November 29, 2010
Microsoft granted appeal in $290m i4i patent case
The Supreme Court may hear an appeal by Microsoft in its long-running patent dispute with Canadian software company i4i. According to a Monday report, the software giant may not have to pay the $290 million it was ordered to do so earlier in the year. Back in April, an appeal was ruled out. The case dates back to 2007.
The case is expected to be settled by the middle of 2011, and it could set a precedent for how patents are enforced in the US. If Microsoft is successful in the appeal, it would make a patent's validity easier to challenge. The defendant, i4i, sued Microsoft for the way it manipulated text with XML in its 2003 and 2007 versions of Word.
To win the right to an appeal, Microsoft said the appeals court made an error when it ruled Microsoft's defense that held the patent is invalid must be proved by clear evidence. Microsoft wishes the court used a different standard for judging valid patents, as it believes questionable patents held by small companies are too easy to defend by their founders without merit.
Throughout the dispute, Microsoft removed the features under question from current versions of its software.
A hearing will be held in March, with a final decision expected to come in June.