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United States government and 21 other amicus briefs back i4i in U.S. Supreme Court Case against Microsoft

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 5:42am
i4i is pleased to acknowledge the strong support it has received in its long-running patent-infringement lawsuit against Microsoft, a lawsuit in which the jury found that Microsoft had willfully infringed i4i's patents. In Washington DC, 22 amicus briefs supporting i4i have now been filed with the U.S. Supreme Court—including one by the United States government.

Each of these briefs urges the Supreme Court to uphold the decisions of the jury and the two lower courts in favour of i4i. The signatories to these briefs are extremely diverse; in addition to the United States, they include individual inventors, former military officers, universities, venture capitalists who invest in innovation, intellectual-property groups, and large and small companies from the medical, pharmaceutical, computing, energy, chemical, finance, and many other industries and industry associations.

Loudon Owen, Chairman of i4i, says, "As you can see from the amicus briefs, and from a letter previously sent to the Attorney General by over 260 signatories, this is an absolutely pivotal case that threatens the ability of inventors and innovative organizations to survive." Owen continues, "Patent protection and the practical ability to enforce a patent are the lifeblood of innovation. Inventions are publicly disclosed in exchange for patent rights and protection. This social contract has enabled development of the most innovative country in history." Owen says, "Now the very individuals, organizations and companies that create new jobs are facing an unprecedented change in the law and the sudden disruption and devaluation of the patent system. i4i's position, which is that patent owners should to be able to rely on established patent law, has received a groundswell of diverse support from the United States government itself as well as from an enormous range of other leaders, inventors, investors and experts."

Owen adds, "The amicus briefs underscore the importance of the case and the extremely damaging consequences if the law is changed and there is a ruling to overturn the lower court's correct decision in favour of new law changes which Microsoft proposes."

The briefs detail the wide-ranging harm that would flow from a ruling for Microsoft. Among other things, they explain:

· All patents would be devalued, which would thereby reduce the incentive for inventors to innovate. This would severely harm the public, because innovation provides new inventions (from life-saving drugs to the latest electronic devices), which improve quality of life. Innovation also creates jobs and commerce while bringing these new inventions to market.

· Venture capital, which is a critical source of funding for a significant amount of innovation, will dry up if patents can be invalidated by a lay jury based on what the Supreme Court has called "a dubious preponderance" of the evidence.

· Large numbers of companies would have to adjust their balance sheets if there were to be a sudden devaluation of their patent assets.

· Strong patents are an indispensable asset for America's small businesses to compete - either through their own patents, or through patents they license because they lack their own independent capital base to fund research and development.

· A ruling for Microsoft would undermine efforts to maintain U.S. technological leadership internationally if the standard of proof were changed and complex validity decisions were not entrusted to experts, as is the case in other leading innovative countries.

· Military defense by our armed forces, which relies heavily on the cutting-edge technology that robust innovation delivers, would be undermined, according to a brief filed by seven retired senior military officers.

· The rules for patent validity have been in place for decades and there are settled expectations among inventors and others, who have acted on that.

A list of the amicus briefs in favour of i4i is contained in the appendix to this release and the amicus briefs are posted on www.i4ilp.com.

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