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i4i scores another win in U.S. courts against Microsoft

Thu, 04/01/2010 - 1:30pm
The Associated Press

Canadian software developer i4i announced Thursday it has won another victory in U.S. courts in its protracted patent infringement case against Microsoft Corp (Nasdaq:MSFT).

In a brief news release, i4i said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has denied a petition by Microsoft for a "rehearing and rehearing en blanc."

Essentially, the ruling means the court has refused to hear the case again, including Microsoft's petition to have it heard by the court's entire 12-judge panel.

On Dec. 22, a three-judge panel of the appeals court upheld a $290-million judgment by a Texas jury in favour of i4i that found Microsoft had wilfully infringed upon the Toronto-based company's patents.

The jury that found that i4i patents were infringed upon by the way Word 2003 and Word 2007 customize XML, or extensible markup language, which is used in encoding and displaying information.

"i4i is delighted by this (latest) ruling from Federal Circuit Court of Appeals," company chairman Loudon Owen said in a news release Thursday.

"This has been a long and arduous process, but this decision is a powerful reinforcement of the message that smaller enterprises and inventors who own intellectual property can and will be protected."

Microsoft spokesmen were not immediately available for comment and it was not clear what the U.S. software giant's next move might be.

However, Owen has said in the past that he expects Microsoft to try to get the case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Inevitably we feel they will apply to the Supreme Court and that could extend another six to nine months to the process," he said earlier this month.

Patent infringement cases are common in the tech world and can take years and millions of dollars to resolve.

The move follows a Dec. 22 judgment by the court that upheld US$290-million judgment which found that Microsoft wilfully infringed upon i4i's patents.

This next step of seeking a rehearing was anticipated. We continue to be confident that we will prevail," stated i4i chairman Loudon Owen.

In the meantime, the injunction against Microsoft goes into effect in three days, on Monday, Jan. 11. We look forward to continuing to build i4i's business now that Microsoft is obligated to comply with the terms of the injunction."

In August, a Texas jury that found that i4i patents were infringed upon by the way Word 2003 and Word 2007 customize XML, or extensible markup language, which is used in encoding and displaying information.

The injunction prevents Microsoft from selling Word products that have the capability of opening an XML file containing custom XML.

Microsoft said last month it expected to have copies of Microsoft Word 2007 and Office 2007 with the feature removed available for sale by the injunction date and added that beta versions of Microsoft Word 2010 and Microsoft Office 2010 do not contain the technology covered by the injunction.

In August, a Texas jury that found that i4i patents were infringed upon by the way Word 2003 and Word 2007 customize XML, or extensible markup language, which is used in encoding and displaying information.

The injunction prevents Microsoft from selling Word products that have the capability of opening an XML file containing custom XML.

Microsoft said last month it expected to have copies of Microsoft Word 2007 and Office 2007 with the feature removed available for sale by the injunction date and added that beta versions of Microsoft Word 2010 and Microsoft Office 2010 do not contain the technology covered by the injunction.

INDEX: SOFTWARE BUSINESS JUSTICE

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