Word costs Microsoft 290 Million dollars - Microsoft wants a new trial
April 19th, 2011 - 11:26 am ET by J. G.
Condemned to pay 290 million dollars in damages and interest for using the XML technology owned by Canadian company i4i, Microsoft has now requested a new trial. The Supreme Court in the USA will hand down their decision before the end of June.
This is a long on going affair in which Microsoft refuses to settle. In March 2007, the Canadian software editor i4i filed legal papers about a patent violation relating to the XML technology (marking functions) being implemented in Word 2003 and 2007 (opening .xml, .docx, .docm files).
In the summer of 2009, Microsoft was ordered to pay 290 million dollars in damages and interest to i4i. Microsoft then failed in their appeal to have the decision overturned, with the result being that from January 2010 they were hit with a permanent injunction preventing them from releasing versions of Word in the US which included this function. Microsoft produced a corrective patch to avoid breeching the court order.
Last summer, Microsoft made a request to the US Supreme Court – the highest court in America, requesting the decision be reviewed. Microsoft was looking for a ruling that the case would be reopened between the two parties, with a decision on whether this is the case to be handed down by the end of June.
According to Microsoft, the potential outcomes of this case go further than a simple dispute with i4i. The software giant has received the support of Apple, Facebook, Cisco and other companies: "this is to prevent the abuse of our patents system and the resulting consequences it will have on innovation".
Microsoft wants to contest the validity of the patent, believing that they failed "clearly and obviously" to demonstrate that this is currently the case, but they believe that a "preponderance of proof" should be sufficient.