As most of you will know, Microsoft lost the patent lawsuit filed against the Redmond giant by i4i, while also losing the first appeal. Microsoft was forced to remove the infringing functionality from Word for US customers, but they also filed a second appeal. This appeal, too, has been lost.
In the ruling, the court argues that Microsoft knew i4i had a patent on the technology, but implemented it anyway – which means Microsoft wilfully infringed upon i4i’s patents. The evidence behind this is that Microsoft employees were present at demonstrations of i4i software, and received press and software kits identifying the software in question as patented.
“A reasonable jury could have concluded that Microsoft ‘willfully’ infringed the ‘449 patent based on the evidence presented at trial,” the court wrote, “Similarly, there is no evidence Microsoft ever made a good faith effort to avoid infringement; internal emails show Microsoft intended to render i4i’s product ‘obsolete’ and assure ‘there won’t be a need for [i4i’s] product’.”
What happens next is that the current decision will be passed around to all 2 appeals court judges, who will then decide whether or not to do a wide review of the case. If not, then Microsoft’s last hope is the US Supreme Court.
“From our perspective, there are only so many more avenues for appeal for them,” said i4i chairman Loudon Owen, “It also resulted in an even more detailed and structured decision in our interest.”
Borked patent system, as we all know.
From my perspective, it’s like watching the villain being eaten by cockroaches. Except I want the villain to win this time.