Back in March, I mentioned that Microsoft had appealed the verdict in the case brought against it for patent infringement against a small Toronto firm called i4i over tech used in MS Word. This legal battle has been raging for years and the jury had previously awarded i4i $290 million after determining that in 2003 and 2007 Microsoft infringed on a patent held by i4i relating to text manipulation software. Microsoft appealed that verdict all the way to the Supreme Court and is fighting to invalidate the patent.
This week Microsoft had its day in front of the Supreme Court and Microsoft lost. The Supreme Court upheld the jury verdict and sided with i4i in the case just as all other judges have done so far. One of the things that Microsoft tried was to get the courts to adopt a lower standard for the requirement that a defendant in a patent case needed to prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that the plaintiff’s patent is invalid.
Microsoft wanted to provide proof involving what is called “a preponderance of evidence” and the courts refused. This still isn’t the end of the legal saga. Microsoft still has a challenge to the patent pending at the US patent office and could have to fork out more money to license the patent from i4i. It is interesting to note that only eight of the nine justices ruled on the case. Chief Justice John Roberts owns Microsoft stock and recused himself from the case.