Microsoft dealt legal blow in patent dispute

Kathy Woods Apr. 2, 2010, 7:15am

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)- Microsoft Corp. was dealt another major legal defeat this week when a federal appeals court denied the computer software giant's request that a full panel of judges hear their arguments in a long running patent dispute.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Thursday denied Microsoft's request to rehear the case, after a three-judge panel sided with Canada-based i4i Ltd. over an XML feature in Microsoft's Word program.

Toronto-based i4i sued Microsoft in U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas, in 2007.

A federal jury there ruled on behalf of i4i. Jurors agreed that Microsoft had infringed on a patent belonging to i4i on software in the 2003 and 2007 versions of Microsoft Word.

The court issued an injunction, preventing Microsoft from selling versions of Microsoft Word that were in dispute. Additionally, i4i was awarded $290 million last August for the copyright infringement.

Loudon Owen, i4i chairman, said in a statement: "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."

A Microsoft spokesman said they were disappointed in the decision.

"We continue to believe there are important matters of patent law that still need to be properly addressed, and we are considering our options for going forward," the spokesman said.

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