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Micosoft loses appeal in i4i case, has to pay $290 million

updated 03:10 pm EDT, Thu June 9, 2011

Microsoft loses last appeal in i4i patent case

Microsoft on Thursday lost its final appeal in i4i's patent lawsuit against it over patents. The US Supreme Court upheld the verdict that Microsoft had copied i4i technology for XML code in Office and owed about $290 million. Microsoft said the ruling was "not what we had hoped for" but instead reinterpreted the loss as a proof of its call for patent defense improvement.

The rejection market one of the larger patent dispute losses for Microsoft. Unlike many of the companies hoping to sue Microsoft over patents, i4i had a concrete, developed product that used custom XML to format Word documents. The introduction of XML code in Word 2003 and 2007 allegedly copied i4i's concept and deprived it of potential business.

At one point, Microsoft nearly faced an Office product ban that would have stopped most versions of Office from heading out until the Windows developer rolled out a fix.

Microsoft's demands to reject abuse of the patent system have often been considered ironic. The company has regularly used patent lawsuits as a competitive tool, suing Android partners over patents with the alternative being a royalty rate that costs more than just licensing Windows Phone when it's an option.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. kerryb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001


    win some lose some just don't lose face

    your comment

  1. Medazinol

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999


    Patent trolls

    The state of the IT industry has reached epic proportions will all sorts of patent holding companies suing big companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and RIM in the hopes of hitting a jackpot.
    The vast majority of holders who go on the warpath have nothing to show other than an idea and the current patent system is very broken in allowing huge awards for these.
    Patents on ideas should be backed by physical work, in this case software.
    i4i had something concrete and MS knew about it and still went ahead with their plans. It backfired on them.
    Lodgsys on the other hand should't be awarded anything based on the fact that they don't have anything concrete to show. Their posturing with developers instead of taking on Apple just goes to show they are preying on the little guys until the legal system puts them in their place.
    RIM suffered the same problem with their huge lawsuit settlement. Some holding company went after them in order to hit the jackpot and the legal system let them get away with it.

  1. _Rick_V_

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003


    damn patent trolls

    A much as I dislike Microsoft, I actually was hoping they'd win this case. This patent trolling is bad for the industry.

  1. Bicycle

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2011


    PDF patent comparable?

    Question, in case it's relevant: who holds the patent on the pdf-format? I remember it as an Adobe invention beginnig of the 90ties. Is everybody incl. Apple paying Adobe for the use of this format? Is XML comparable, patent-wise?

  1. shawnde

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008


    Kudos to i4i

    Incidentally, i4i was not only technology company, but they actually had a product which I believe was server based which would do the XML transform. Apparently, this was demoed to MS, and in their usual fashion, they just ran with the code and ignored all the phone calls. I'm glad i4i was able to get them to pay; they deserved it. And I'm sure Microsoft's "patch" which was issues, probably still violated the patent, but just not provable in court.

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