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Microsoft Loses Second Word Appeal, Owes $240M

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 38 comments

Microsoft has lost its second appeal against a ruling that called for the software giant to fork out nearly a quarter of a billion in damages for patent infringement.

Late last year, after a lengthy legal battle, Microsoft was ordered to alter word and pay Canadian-based company, i4i, $240 million in damages. Microsoft was found guilty of infringing upon XML-related patents owned by i4i but Redmond appealed the decision calling it a "miscarriage of justice." In December, this appeal was denied and Microsoft filed another.

The second appeal has now been denied and the BBC reports that this time, the judges spelled things out for Microsoft, detailing the decision was made in the first place. The judges say there's evidence to suggest that Microsoft knew about the i4i infringements before it turned up in Office. Indeed, court documents released after the initial verdict was announced echo their thoughts.

Soon after the verdict was made public in August, court documents revealed that not only did Microsoft know about the infringement, the company hoped to render i4i's product obsolete with newer versions of Office.

In an email to a colleague, Martin Sawicki, a member of Microsoft's XML for Word development team said they had met with the i4i team.

"We saw [i4i's products] some time ago and met its creators. Word 11 will make it obsolete," said Sawicki. "It looks great for XP though," he added.

According to the BBC, Microsoft is waiting on word from the other appeal court judges who will decide if Redmond has grounds for a wider review of the case. If they decide that Microsoft does not have grounds for a review, the company can take its appeal to the Supreme Court.

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  • 21 Hide
    mayne92 , March 12, 2010 6:07 PM
    "Soon after the verdict was made public in August, court documents revealed that not only did Microsoft know about the infringement, the company hoped to render i4i's product obsolete with newer versions of Office."

    That's funny. M$ steals i4i's patented technology and tries to run them into the ground with it. Kind of like...when M$ took Java and made Visual J# which failed trying to make an open-source technology a M$. Or the Iso program that had open-source code in it...and M$ turned it into proprietary code. Hell, I could go on...
  • 17 Hide
    superblahman123 , March 12, 2010 6:15 PM
    At least this is a patent infringement case on a patent that someone is actually applying to a product they have. "Intellectual property" is a joke.
  • 10 Hide
    mayne92 , March 12, 2010 5:58 PM
    tomtompiperMicrosoft will win in the end, unfortunately money talks.

    Yuppers...that's how it worked for them when sued by U.S. government years ago!
Other Comments
    Display all 38 comments.
  • -4 Hide
    dman3k , March 12, 2010 5:47 PM
    So let me put this in a far simpler way:

    m$ - 0.24B = i4i

    Hi, Tuan!
  • 5 Hide
    Tomtompiper , March 12, 2010 5:48 PM
    Microsoft will win in the end, unfortunately money talks.
  • 10 Hide
    mayne92 , March 12, 2010 5:58 PM
    tomtompiperMicrosoft will win in the end, unfortunately money talks.

    Yuppers...that's how it worked for them when sued by U.S. government years ago!
  • 21 Hide
    mayne92 , March 12, 2010 6:07 PM
    "Soon after the verdict was made public in August, court documents revealed that not only did Microsoft know about the infringement, the company hoped to render i4i's product obsolete with newer versions of Office."

    That's funny. M$ steals i4i's patented technology and tries to run them into the ground with it. Kind of like...when M$ took Java and made Visual J# which failed trying to make an open-source technology a M$. Or the Iso program that had open-source code in it...and M$ turned it into proprietary code. Hell, I could go on...
  • 17 Hide
    superblahman123 , March 12, 2010 6:15 PM
    At least this is a patent infringement case on a patent that someone is actually applying to a product they have. "Intellectual property" is a joke.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , March 12, 2010 6:15 PM
    They need to make software patents go away, period. And need to make it where if a patent holder doesn't make a product or service within 2 years of a patent being granted, the patent is nullified.
  • 2 Hide
    ravewulf , March 12, 2010 6:18 PM
    $240M seems a like a bit much for something like this. i4i (eye for eye) is more like an arm and a leg in return for a papercut
  • 3 Hide
    falconqc , March 12, 2010 6:19 PM
    I wonder if Microsoft checked to see if all i4i machines had genuine versions of windows installed and not pirated versions. Hilarity could ensue were it not the case.

    I'm no MS fanboi, but i4i is just a patent troll. I know plenty of people who work for companies like that. They do R&D without any intention of marketing their products and then sit on em waiting for one of the big players to slightly infringe on the patent so they can sue.
  • 6 Hide
    darknova_ , March 12, 2010 6:27 PM
    falconqcI wonder if Microsoft checked to see if all i4i machines had genuine versions of windows installed and not pirated versions. Hilarity could ensue were it not the case.I'm no MS fanboi, but i4i is just a patent troll. I know plenty of people who work for companies like that. They do R&D without any intention of marketing their products and then sit on em waiting for one of the big players to slightly infringe on the patent so they can sue.



    MarthThey need to make software patents go away, period. And need to make it where if a patent holder doesn't make a product or service within 2 years of a patent being granted, the patent is nullified.



    to both of you i4i has products that use the xml patents
  • 7 Hide
    daggs , March 12, 2010 6:44 PM
    falconqcI wonder if Microsoft checked to see if all i4i machines had genuine versions of windows installed and not pirated versions. Hilarity could ensue were it not the case.I'm no MS fanboi, but i4i is just a patent troll. I know plenty of people who work for companies like that. They do R&D without any intention of marketing their products and then sit on em waiting for one of the big players to slightly infringe on the patent so they can sue.

    it doesn't matters how dirty i4i are matter to the fact, microsoft was convicted in software stealing... if they considering them self as an huge software company, then they should either not get caught or stop stealing other's code.
  • 5 Hide
    cscott_it , March 12, 2010 7:13 PM
    Daggsit doesn't matters how dirty i4i are matter to the fact, microsoft was convicted in software stealing... if they considering them self as an huge software company, then they should either not get caught or stop stealing other's code.


    Are they stealing code, or just doing something as vaguely defined in a patent?

    I'm pretty sure SenseUI didn't steal any code, but Apple is suing them because it uses their 'patented' two finger gesturing style.



    I've noticed that in the tech field, companies are able to get away with using vague patents to bully people. Most likely because the judges aren't particularly knowledgable about a subject.

    I think they should have a group of specially trained judges that have a better understanding of the underlying subject matter some day.
  • -4 Hide
    p05esto , March 12, 2010 7:28 PM
    Screw these lawsuits against MS. I'm gettign really sick of everyone suing the most amazing computer company in the world. Show some respect, we wouldn't even be close to where we are today without MS. Like them or not, that fact is undeniable. They are not perfect, no company is. But constantly cashing out on them with lawsuits will be their downfall. I wouldn't be surprised if the mission statement for some of these small companies is to find a way to nail MS for some copyright or monopoloy infringement. Scumballs.
  • 9 Hide
    Niva , March 12, 2010 7:51 PM
    Under the current system i4i sounds like they have a case and are winning, it doesn't matter if they're making products with their IP or just patent trolling.

    Ideally I'd rather undo this whole system, software patents need to be much more limited (like 2 years tops) and that's it. After that it should become public domain, because IMO with software you're retarding the entire user experience to the point it becomes harmful to the entire human race which uses software. Most importantly it prevents open source from moving forward either, and the bad part is that when the open source guys come up with patentable technology it usually doesn't get patented.

    Secondly how can someone hold xml pattents? XML is supposedly an open standard held and published by W3C. Did i4i really come up with some novel idea that is strictly xml related? I doubt it. I'd really like to hear more about these patents. Even if we don't nuke the entire patent system as it stands right now, there need to be some massive changes to how patents are awarded.

    Bottom line is that i4i sounds like they have a legit case and they're winning. Sucks for MS and sucks for the rest of the consumers but that's our legal system and it's not all perfect.
  • 0 Hide
    NightLight , March 12, 2010 9:34 PM
    OMG will people stop with the lawsuits allready...

  • -4 Hide
    tacoslave , March 12, 2010 10:46 PM
    Damn the justice system slams Microsoft like its cool or something.
    I bet they're all mac users. Seriously i think i would buy a mac just so it can get a virus and sue apple for false advertisement. The payment you ask?
    all i want is for jobs to say that "apple products are overpriced". *sigh a man can dream can't he?
  • 8 Hide
    expertester , March 13, 2010 1:19 AM
    falconqcI'm no MS fanboi, but i4i is just a patent troll. I know plenty of people who work for companies like that. They do R&D without any intention of marketing their products and then sit on em waiting for one of the big players to slightly infringe on the patent so they can sue.


    I do agree but beg differ perspective. Microsoft already knew about this. Heck, they even meet the i4i and purposely implement that technology to render i4i obsolete. Normally I have neutral stand when Microsoft is involved, but this action is really irresponsible. Microsoft, if they really want to use that technology, they can acquire it. They have the capability. Instead, they choose to do this way and purposely do so.

    And because of their intention, ignorance and purposely doing this, I believe Microsoft should be fined.
  • 9 Hide
    randomizer , March 13, 2010 1:33 AM
    Quote:
    Show some respect, we wouldn't even be close to where we are today without MS.

    Nope, we'd be well ahead of where we are now. MS, Apple, Adobe etc all hold back the industry with patents and proprietary garbage.
  • 2 Hide
    thejerk , March 13, 2010 2:55 AM
    expertesterI do agree but beg differ perspective. Microsoft already knew about this. Heck, they even meet the i4i and purposely implement that technology to render i4i obsolete. Normally I have neutral stand when Microsoft is involved, but this action is really irresponsible. Microsoft, if they really want to use that technology, they can acquire it. They have the capability. Instead, they choose to do this way and purposely do so.And because of their intention, ignorance and purposely doing this, I believe Microsoft should be fined.


    In Big Business, sometimes you go ahead and steal code, and wager the settlement will be less expensive than the acquisition. Here MS gambled, and probably lost. To them, however, it's just the "lose some" part of the "win some, lose some" philosophy.
  • 3 Hide
    thejerk , March 13, 2010 2:56 AM
    I'm not saying that it's the most righteous way of conducting business, but it has proven effective many times over.
  • -1 Hide
    Mike00 , March 13, 2010 2:03 PM
    Some people make me laugh, unfortunately an electronic device that does something similar and a code are not the same thing. How much coincidence do you think there is for 2 companies to create the same code (or write the same thing) and call it the same thing (XML) I'm sorry but no matter how you put it and say that i4i is was just waiting for something to vaguely copy it, just does not cut it here. Especially when Microsoft states in the letter, they had previously met with i4i and told them that their product was going to make theirs obsolete and well your product may be good just for XP. LOL I mean with threats like that, who the heck would not sue? I don't really want to pick sides, but there is no way they came up with the same coding and so happens to call it the same thing. Even electronics that do similar things are called differently and are some how build a bit different, they just accomplish the same thing. Coding that is compatible with each other pretty much needs to be written the same way or written with the other one in mind, because no matter how you look at it XML is XML and run it on i4i or Microsoft product it's the same thing. Also it is not the first time Microsoft as been called out on this, a little to many times, plus also slapped in the hand for monopoly in the past, nothing new.

    Also some people may want to watch Pirates of Silicon Valley, This is just how Microsoft started as a company, and Apple, big pirates both of them, with such memorable quotes has "Good artists copy, great artists steal." LOL
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