US Supreme Court rules against Microsoft

The United States Supreme Court has issued a ruling against Microsoft today in regards to the i4i patent infringement issue that was originally raised some time ago. The judges unanimously decided to uphold a lower court's ruling that Microsoft infringed upon the Toronto based i4i, custom XML technology.

Microsoft has in turn be charged with a figure of $290 million in damages to i4i and has additionally been ordered to remove the patented technology from the Microsoft Word software, which originally caused the situation to flare up. The case however dates back to 2007, with this occurrence being Microsoft's last appeal.

According to Paul Thurrott, the software giant apparently tried several last effort attempts to thwart i4i's case, however the Supreme Court decided to ignore the evidence Microsoft gave due to it coming in relatively last minute. The judges also noted that the evidence that was provided, was not of the quality they felt they could use in the case.

Several high profile companies amongst others such as Apple, Google and Verizon were backing Microsoft in what they felt might be a chance to change what is decided as a legal standard for companies facing legal suits over invalid patents.

Microsoft, clearly disappointed by the decision, released a statement through a company spokesperson after the court issued the ruling in which they stated "This case raised an important issue of law which the Supreme Court itself had questioned in an earlier decision and which we believed needed resolution.  While the outcome is not what we had hoped for, we will continue to advocate for changes to the law that will prevent abuse of the patent system and protect inventors who hold patents representing true innovation."

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Quoting the original source: "Unfortunately for Microsoft, the Supreme Court felt that the software giant's arguments along this line were a last-minute desperation play." That argument comes far too late," the ruling reads. "And we therefore refuse to consider it."

The court system is also partly to blame; Microsoft lost on a technicality, not on the strengths of the evidence it tried to present.

Glad that this nonsense that passes for law only applies to the US. Europe may well be a complete shambles but we at least disassociated ourselves from this.

I wouldn't feel too sorry for them, it was bill gates who snuck the IBM patent through the gates (which later became windows). It's Karma if you ask me.

dotf said,
Gooooo Canada!

I'm pretty sure MS removed the offending code after the first court's ruling.

They did, but this is an appeal to that ruling, so the removal does not matter

dotf said,
I'm pretty sure MS removed the offending code after the first court's ruling.

The problem is that the patent is extremely generic and easily applies to a lot of software. Microsoft indeed removed the specific feature that was declared as an infringement but in all honesty I doubt they could make software that does not infringe upon it.

"Microsoft has in turn be charged with a figure of $290 million in damages to i4i"

For the love of humanity, please revise the stupid patent system.

KavazovAngel said,
"Microsoft has in turn be charged with a figure of $290 million in damages to i4i"
For the love of humanity, please revise the stupid patent system.

It needs to be scrapped, not reformed. And Microsoft made no complaints when it started suing Android OEM's with the vaguest, most generalised patents you can imagine.

Flawed said,

It needs to be scrapped, not reformed. And Microsoft made no complaints when it started suing Android OEM's with the vaguest, most generalised patents you can imagine.

1) All of this crap and the patent abuse far predates freaking Android
2) Microsoft has stood against patent trolls, no matter what or who they are going after.

This has nothing to do with EQUIPMENT manufacturers, this is based on software patents. More specifically with this case, the technology Microsoft was sued over, they had created and were using in the 90s. Microsoft actually has prior art and most things that should have thrown this to the curb, but because of the 'clever' wording of the patent, the specific patent could apply.

PS Specific to the issue you raise, Microsoft has stepped in and offered support and assitance to Samsung and others, based on ANDROID devices. (Apple is the one suing Samsung, Microsoft is the one helping Samsung.)

So, No, No, and No... Try again.

thenetavenger said,

1) All of this crap and the patent abuse far predates freaking Android
2) Microsoft has stood against patent trolls, no matter what or who they are going after.

This has nothing to do with EQUIPMENT manufacturers, this is based on software patents. More specifically with this case, the technology Microsoft was sued over, they had created and were using in the 90s. Microsoft actually has prior art and most things that should have thrown this to the curb, but because of the 'clever' wording of the patent, the specific patent could apply.

PS Specific to the issue you raise, Microsoft has stepped in and offered support and assitance to Samsung and others, based on ANDROID devices. (Apple is the one suing Samsung, Microsoft is the one helping Samsung.)

So, No, No, and No... Try again.

The same Microsoft that is "extorting" $5 from HTC for every Android phone they are making , due to Linux patents ? The same Microsoft who is suing Motorola's for using Android ?

alexalex said,

The same Microsoft that is "extorting" $5 from HTC for every Android phone they are making , due to Linux patents ? The same Microsoft who is suing Motorola's for using Android ?


Yeah, because using your competitors patented work is totally the same as some unknown nolifer company like i4i registering countless of patents in the hope one day a company uses them to sue them.

Shadowzz said,

Yeah, because using your competitors patented work is totally the same as some unknown nolifer company like i4i registering countless of patents in the hope one day a company uses them to sue them.

+1

some of these patents make me scared as a software dev..... how in the world do you know if you are infringing on someones patent even when you truly believe you came up with the idea yourself?... even with patent researchers and patent lawyers you still can run into problems it seems like, but then small dev's cant even afford that stuff

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,
some of these patents make me scared as a software dev..... how in the world do you know if you are infringing on someones patent even when you truly believe you came up with the idea yourself?

The truth is, software patents are a minefield, and it's virtually impossible to write software these days that doesn't infringe on someone's so called "idea". The USPTO gives them out like sweets. Fortunately in Europe things are less severe.

Denis W said,
I love how the local radio station spun this story as David vs. Goliath.

i4i will be getting off with the best girls in Bethlehem tonight.

MS Lose32 said,
I'm not a fan of Microsoft or anything, but f*ck patent trolls! Go Microsoft! Counter-sue them out of existence!

Counter sue? The decision is made. I'm sure Microsoft will be okay.

MS Lose32 said,
I'm not a fan of Microsoft or anything, but f*ck patent trolls! Go Microsoft! Counter-sue them out of existence!

I agree that software patents are inherently insidious and should be abolished immediately, but I wouldn't cheer Microsoft just yet. They are, after all, one of the biggest abusers of the patent system. Just look at the anti-competitive campaign against Android, GNU/Linux, and FOSS.

With that in mind, I can't help but express my schadenfreude, and whisper to myself, you reap what you sow Microsoft.

Xenosion said,

I'm sure Microsoft will be okay.

Uncle Bill will only be able to buy one private island this year instead of two.

Flawed said,
With that in mind, I can't help but express my schadenfreude, and whisper to myself, you reap what you sow Microsoft.

To a point yes, but this is a lose for everybody as it would have helped curb patent trolling if the decision went the other way. There was quite a bit of support for MS in this one, even from some of their rivals, including The Apache Software Foundation and the EFF.

Flawed said,

I agree that software patents are inherently insidious and should be abolished immediately, but I wouldn't cheer Microsoft just yet. They are, after all, one of the biggest abusers of the patent system. Just look at the anti-competitive campaign against Android, GNU/Linux, and FOSS.

With that in mind, I can't help but express my schadenfreude, and whisper to myself, you reap what you sow Microsoft.

I don't think you would ever cheer Microsoft from reading your posts on some articles.

There is actually nothing to cheer Microsoft about here though.

dotf said,

Because that's how Bill spends his money.

Exactly, buying private islands for kids with cancer, for instance. Terrible. /s

MS Lose32 said,
I'm not a fan of Microsoft or anything, but f*ck patent trolls! Go Microsoft! Counter-sue them out of existence!

Oh and what Microsoft is doing to companies using Android in their phones is something completely different? And Android case is just one of many... you should read more.

MS Lose32 said,
I'm not a fan of Microsoft or anything, but f*ck patent trolls! Go Microsoft! Counter-sue them out of existence!

I agree.