Microsoft Loses $290 Million in Patent Battle Fail

The Supreme Court decided that Microsoft would have to pay the $290 million charge that a jury deemed suitable for a patent infringement against Toronto-based software company i4i.

A jury verdict already awarded over $200 million to i4i over Microsoft's infringement of an XML technology that the software giant used in its previous versions of Microsoft Word.

Microsoft has appealed the decision up the legal system, but now the word from the Supreme Court means that i4i can finally celebrate.

Michel Vulpe, i4i's founder and chief technology officer, commented on the Court's unanimous decision, "We're very pleased that the court did the right thing."

Loudon Owen, i4i's chairman, said in a statement, "This is one of the most significant business cases the court has decided in decades."

Microsoft actually pushed for the courts for a new standard in patent matters. According to Reuters, the Congress-accepted standard is that the defendant in a patent infringement case must "prove by clear and convincing evidence that a plaintiff's patent is invalid." Microsoft, on the other hand, wanted a "lower standard of proof involving a 'preponderance of the evidence' would make some 'bad' patents easier to invalidate while promoting innovation and competition."

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • alyon
    I remember hearing about i4i or better known as "Eye for an Eye." Just a group that makes all of their business buying up patents and then suing companies who may infringe. I would much rather have Microsoft winning this instead of the people who represent what is so wrong with our copyright/patent system today.

    Idiots will look at this as a win.
  • s3anister
    A terribly inconvenient defeat for Microsoft at a bad time and for a high price.
  • dericmenard
    The best part of this article: Ballmer sweating like a fat pig in the picture. :)
  • i4i is a patent troll, microsoft losing that case is bad for the industry in general.
  • Firehead2k
    i4i are not patent trolls. From what I can recall, they are a small company that deals with the automated conversion of text into computers.

    It's their patent, and microsoft knowingly infringed on it. And now justice is served.
  • SmileyTPB1
    While I love it when people stick it to MS, I too agree this is a bad thing. I'm tired of lawyers who's only business is to sue people to make money for themselves. Anyone remember the group of lawyers who bought up a bunch of patents that they vaguely interpreted as giving them the patent on buying stuff on the internet and then started suing small businesses to buy a $3000 "Internet Commerce" license from them? Thankfully those morons were successfully counter sued when several of the small business banded together and put them out of business.
  • reggieray
    Nice to see the copycat company MS not get away with another stealing of an idea. They copied Apple in the beginning after Bill shafted the author of MS DOS and shoved him under the bus. MS then bullied, copied, stole, you name it to get where they are and people wonder why I dislike the convicted monopolist. Their OS is not that great anyway, bloated and clumsy compared to Gnome on Linux or OS X. The only thing I see MS with an advantage is games but that is all about shoving their proprietary Direct X down everyones throats and that is quickly changing too. OS X is on STEAM now and I hear there is talk of Ubuntu on STEAM.
    Not to mention that the tablet and phone games do not use the proprietary DX crap either.
  • stalker7d7
    The current patent system is a load of crap in my honest opinion.

    Competition allows us to innovate further. Not "I got the patent, you can't do shit" type of crap. The space race for example, we got the the moon because of competition (regardless that it was a competition for the top power in the world).

    So many good things come from competition, that's why there are laws against monopoly. Yet, for some reason, we have a patent system that seems to strive solely for monopoly? I don't get it.

    Intel vs AMD
    nVidia vs AMt(used to be ATI...)
    Pepsi vs Coke


    Without it we'd still be in the stone ages...

    I say, abolish the patent system until revisions are made to make it...sensible.
  • verbalizer
    why is dude sweating so hard in that photo.... LOL
  • fyend
    ReggieRay Steam is on OS X now and the handful of games available run at much lower frame rates than they do on windows so you might as well just run Windows via Bootcamp if you're dumb enough to overpay for a Mac and expect to game on it. Mind you it'll still be a let down since Mac doesn't offer cutting edge GPUs.