Last week, a US federal appeals court heard the case of i4i vs. Microsoft following the August 11 Texas court ruling that ordered Microsoft to pay US$290m to i4i for infringement of i4i’s patent of an XML tag editor.
A simple version of the backstory can be read on examiner.com. Basically, Canadian company i4i created and patented some software and shared it with Microsoft. Then Microsoft used this technology in its Word packages. But has paid nothing to i4i.
The August judgement also included an injunction against Microsoft for selling Word products in the US that use custom XML from i4i. The ruling would go into effect in 60 days, unless Microsoft wins the appeal.
Microsoft says: “We emphasized three points for why a reverse judgment or retrial is warranted: Courts need to construct claims properly, the patent is not valid and we do not infringe it, and common sense can’t be abandoned when it comes to damages calculation.”
i4i chairman Loudon Owen responds: “Microsoft repeated the same line of argument that was unsuccessful at trial. We are confident i4i will prevail. … This case is critical not just for i4i but also so all entrepreneurs and inventors can enforce their property rights created by patents. Intellectual property is the lifeblood of invention.”
Owen wants to make clear that he’s not out to stop Microsoft selling Word, just don’t put in technology that doesn’t belong to you.
The appeals court may take two to six months to make its final decision – a choice of reversing the original ruling or scheduling a new trial (either way, the lawyers are happy).