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Microsoft's Appeal in Custom XML Patent Case in Dispute

i4i has filed a brief that disputes Microsoft's appeal seeking to "lower the standard of proof" in its custom XML patent case.

Just as Microsoft is set next month to appeal the $290 million awarded to i4i in its ongoing legal dispute involving "custom XML" technology, i4i has filed a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court argues that Microsoft is seeking to "lower the standard of proof" in a way that "conflicts with over a century of judicial precedent," according to i4i's press release. Doing so would "discourage innovation," upset expectations and lead to "marginalizing the United States Patent and Trademark Office," i4i's announcement explained

The Supreme Court granted Microsoft a hearing in November concerning the dispute. Microsoft was found to have willfully infringed i4i's patent (U.S. Patent 5,787,449) in certain older versions of Microsoft Word. A lower court in East Texas had awarded i4i more than $290 million in damages in the case.

Microsoft is now arguing before the Supreme Court that the standard for disproving a patent is too high in a particular instance. The company's lawyers contend that the courts do not require "clear and convincing evidence" to disprove a patent when the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) lacked prior-art information before approving the patent. Microsoft claims to have amicus-brief backing from Apple, Google, GM, Verizon and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, among others, in this case..

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the oral arguments from i4i and Microsoft on April 18. Barring further appeals, the Supreme Court is expected to deliver its decision by the end of June.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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